UPDATED 2:30pm Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilmembers Rose Herrera, Sam Liccardo and Pete Constant called today for a cap on the number of medical cannabis businesses in San Jose. They proposed shutting down the other marijuana businesses in San Jose. The City’s Rules Committee will hear the proposal tomorrow, March 9. If approved, the ordinance will be sent to the City Council on March 29, 2011.
The proposal will establish a maximum number of 10 medical marijuana collectives permitted to operate within San Jose city limits. In addition, it would create a streamlined application process for collectives to operate legally. Other medical marijuana collectives would be required to stop operations within a specified time period.
“There’s no reason to continue to burden our community, strain our Code Enforcement and Police departments with the current volume and regulatory indecision of the issue. Also, medical marijuana businesses need clarity and certainty in this process,” said Councilmember Sam Liccardo.
Concurrently, the Public Safety, Finance & Strategic Support Committee is establishing the zoning and land use regulations. Councilmember Pete Constant is the chairman of the committee and co-author of this proposal. Both processes will result in clarity of process and strengthened regulatory authority.
Since Council initially took up the issue of marijuana distribution in San Jose, the number of marijuana dispensaries in San Jose has increased to more than 100, the councilmembers say.
UPDATE: One councilmember who has pushed for taxing medical marijuana dispensaries from the beginning but was not involved in the latest proposal to cap collectives is Pierluigi Oliverio, who suggested a similar strategy, albeit with different numbers, in late 2009 and again in December.
“I certainly would have loved to see this report in 2009, but obviously we were still waiting for the new district attorney and attorney general to issue new guidelines,” Oliverio said, adding that trimming the city down from roughly 100 dispensaries to 10 will be “extremely difficult.”
Dave Hodges, founder of San Jose’s first collective, said the decision to cap dispensaries will likely result in lawsuits and a heavy loss of jobs.
“It’s ridiculous. There’s no way they can cap it to 10,” he said. “What they’re talking about is starting a lawsuit with 90 businesses in San Jose and putting 900 people or more out of work.
“It’s more than just a cap. It’s a cap and then all the others they don’t decide to choose will have to be shut down in 30 to 60 days. That would give the city justification to start a lawsuit. And a cap isn’t even legal according to my lawyers.”
The marijuana club shutdowns follow the city’s crackdown on alcohol clubs. Club Wet closed permanently over the weekend after Police Chief Chris Moore invoked an emergency ordinance following a New Year’s Eve fight.