Leaders in San Jose have voted to effectively ban the vast majority of medical marijuana dispensaries and limit new dispensaries to industrial areas that make up less than 1 percent of California’s third largest city.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the city council’s 7-3 vote on Tuesday and the zoning limitations it establishes would leave five to 10 of the city’s roughly 80 dispensaries in place by summer of 2015, the time when dispensaries would be forced to move from zones where medical marijuana is no longer allowed. Those within 150 feet of residential zones will be forced to close within the coming months, the Mercury News reports.
The new requirements would also limit dispensaries hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., eliminate on-site consumption and require dispensaries to establish security at all hours. In addition, dispensaries would have to have all their cannabis grown in or near Santa Clara County.
Steve DeAngelo, co-founder and executive director, of Harborside Health Center – which has locations in San Jose and Oakland – said that the council’s vote was “very disappointing” and overlooked the recommendations of medical marijuana patients.
“We are evaluating possible responses,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Sensible San Jose, a group that has collected 38,000 signatures “on an initiative that would be a reasonable and workable approach to regulating medical cannabis in San Jose,” lawyer James Anthony said the group could declare the mayor its enemy.
“The mayor a week ago declared himself our sworn enemy and said that he would raise money and lead the opposition against any such initiative. He then proceeded to preside over the passage of a largely unworkable, somewhat complicated and obscure ordinance that doesn’t help patients and is not really helpful in terms of producing medicine in any reasonable fashion and distributing it,” Anthony said. “[The ordinance] completely ignores the track records of the many, many collectives in San Jose that have been in business for four years and have paid millions of dollars to the city and is really an inexplicable and arrogant act by the mayor and the council majority.”
Anthony said Sensible San Jose is now considering several options including a referendum to prevent the ordinance from going to effect, pushing the group’s initiative through a number of different legislative channels and possible litigation.