Read San Jose’s New Dispensary Ban…Ahem, ‘Regulations’

David Downs, East Bay Express

The San Jose city council will try another medical pot dispensary ban — again posing as regulations, reports indicate this week.

San Jose has about eighty operating dispensaries — some really good, some not so nice — due to an ongoing lack of regulations. New rules the council approved Tuesday would allow such outlets in about 1 percent of the city — and only if dispensaries somehow grew all their own supplies in Santa Clara or Santa Cruz counties. (Imagine your local Whole Foods farming its produce aisle within county limits.)

A pot shop owner can’t have so much as a speeding ticket from 2005 on their record. And “Any existing Medical Marijuana Collective, dispensary, operator, establishment, or provider at the time of the effective date of this Chapter is not in compliance with the San José Municipal Code, and shall immediately cease operations,” the ban states.

“Nobody can operate under those environments,” dispensary attorney James Anthony told the Merc. “It's a de-facto ban and in kind of a sneaky way."

About five to ten pot shops would qualify to stay where they are under the new rules, the Merc states. San Jose has a population of 1,000,536 people.

San Jose is also the only area in the South Bay with safe access to medical cannabis, reports indicate.

“Officials in Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill and Sunnyvale have banned pot shops, according to Americans for Safe Access. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is set to consider a ban in unincorporated areas this summer,” the Merc writes.

About 86 percent of Americans support medical marijuana, and 56 percent support its legalization for use by adults, a January poll by CBS found.

The council seems pretty out of touch with San Jose. About “60 percent of respondents in a city-commissioned poll earlier this year wanted pot shops regulated, only 16 percent favored an outright ban,” the Merc notes. In 2010, San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved of taxes on cannabis outlets.

Yet three of seven council members — Rose Herrera, Kansen Chu and Xavier Campos — favor a total ban on dispensaries, the Merc reports.

San Jose is repeating history at enormous cost. In 2011, the council erected a de facto ban that was dismantled when residents turned in enough signatures to force a citywide vote on the issue. Medical cannabis supporters in San Jose say they have again collected enough signatures to put more reasonable regulations before a vote of the people.