Pot Club Rules Come Up for a Vote

After years trying to grapple with the proliferation of cannabis clubs in San Jose, city leaders will finally vote on a sweeping regulatory ordinance that threatens to shut down the bulk of local collectives.

The City Council on Tuesday will pick up where it left off last week, weighing in on an ordinance that would zone out most of the city’s pot clubs and impose a “closed-loop” cultivation system requiring dispensaries to grow the drug on-site. It would also put in place buffer zones between pot clubs and schools, community centers, homes, rehab clinics and other “sensitive use” facilities. It would bar convicted criminals from working for collectives and limit business hours from 9 in the morning to 9 at night.

Cannabis club owners consider the proposal a de facto ban. Proponents of the rules say it’s a much-needed check after years of unbridled growth in the local marijuana sector. Federal law bans medical marijuana use, but a 1996 state bill allows it, putting local jurisdictions like San Jose in a legal limbo that leaves a lot to their own regulatory discretion.

The city needs local laws to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and to prevent illegal drug cartels from using collectives as a front for illegal activity, Mayor Chuck Reed said last week.

“[We] also [need to ensure] that seriously ill patients have access to the medication they need,” he added.

The city passed a regulatory ordinance in 2011 that came with a 10-pot club cap. Medical marijuana proponents fought back, culling enough signatures to overturn it by referendum.

City leaders risk another referendum if the ordinance isn’t workable. In the meantime, two separate groups are gathering signatures to place a couple regulatory initiatives on the November ballot.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for May 20, 2014:

  • Vander-Bend—a manufacturer specializing in sheet metal fabrication, electro-mechanical assembly and prototyping—could gain some economic development subsidies from the city. In exchange for an agreement to get the company to direct use tax back to municipal coffers, Vander-Bend would get a $100,000 reimbursement from the city for new equipment purchases.
  • A company called MCK Services put in a $2.8 million bid for a street resurfacing job, making it the lowest bidder and eligible for the contract.
  • The city may approve a funding commitment to provide a $920,000 grant to renovate Creekview Inn Apartments, a complex on Lundy Avenue.
  • To prep City Hall for its new tenant, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the city will opt for a design-build contract. This type of contract will allow the city to select a contractor based on price and qualifications instead of by lowest bid and could potentially save a lot of money by streamlining the process. San Jose went with design-build contracts for construction of the convention center and the San Jose Mineta International Airport.
  • Councilman Sam Liccardo has some reservations about proposed changes to the city’s gaming ordinance. Casinos shouldn’t allow anything but first-floor gambling, he says. And disputes between card rooms and the city shouldn’t rely on third-party mediators for a resolution. Both moves would weaken local oversight, he says.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to jenniferw@metronews.com or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

3 Comments

  1. > •To prep City Hall for its new tenant, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the city will opt for a design-build contract. This type of contract will allow the city to select a contractor based on price and qualifications instead of by lowest bid and could potentially save a lot of money by streamlining the process.

    Well, there you have it. A clear admission by the city that it’s contracting processes are costly and need streamlining.

    If “the city” knows this, why don’t they DO something?

  2. The council dismantled police oversight of the card clubs now liccardo wants police regulation? I’m confused. Oh, and that’s the same issue with pot clubs.

    Liccardo isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. Maybe when the police department and city attorney tell you it’s a bad idea-you should listen.

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