By Da Lin

MARTINEZ (KPIX 5) – The City of Martinez is debating whether a pot shop and a youth center can exist side-by-side.

The debate that could derail plans for a new dispensary.

A lot of kids practice and train at Power Endurance. The dispensary wants to set up shop right next door. They would also share the same parking lot. The question is, ‘is that ok?’

On most days, Power Endurance is filled with kids and student athletes. Most of them come to train after school and during the summer.

So when a medical marijuana dispensary recently proposed to open up next door in the same building, coaches and parents became very concerned.

“Doesn’t sit well in my stomach for sure,” said parent Alex Snyder.

Jose Ortiz is a parent who coaches baseball.

“They should be pretty far away at least from schools and from kids,” he said.

But not everyone believes having a pot dispensary next door is a bad mix.

Martinez Councilwoman Noralea Gipner supports the dispensary and says she is “just shocked at the small thinking.”

“I don’t understand how they’re going to get exposed by having a marijuana store next door. The kids aren’t going in there to buy it. It’s the adults going in there to purchase it and then leave. What exposure?” she said.

“We don’t need to be advertising to kids,” insists Snyder.

Councilman Mark Ross says it’s not the right location.

“When I visited it, had mostly kids in it and it caters to kids and youth.” said Ross. “And there’s only a one inch sheet rock and some glass door between. That just isn’t enough of a buffer.”

The owner of the facility, former NFL running back, Maurice Jones Drew, considers Power Endurance a youth center and under state law, a dispensary cannot set up shop within 600-feet of a youth center or school.

But regardless of whether or not the city sees it as a youth center, many parents say it’s the wrong location.

“I’m against it. I hope they don’t put it there,” said Ortiz.

“I’m all for dispensaries, why this location?” asked Snyder.

The Martinez City Council will likely vote on this within a few months.

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