San Jose Council to Finalize Medical Marijuana Rules

An ordinance that would limit medical marijuana collectives to just 1 percent of the city comes up for a final reading at the City Council this week.

The regulations voted in last week by the council will shutter some 90 percent of the city’s pot clubs and require surviving establishments to grow their entire stock in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara or San Benito counties. No one with a criminal record or even a parking ticket in the past decade can work in a dispensary. And any shop out of compliance with these rules in about a month from now will have to pack up and leave.

Medical marijuana proponents worry that the new rules will restrict safe access to patients, especially since virtually all neighboring cities have outlawed pot clubs and the county Board of Supervisors will consider a ban for unincorporated areas, too.

“It’s a completely unrealistic mess,” marijuana lobbyist James Anthony told San Jose Inside last week. “It’s certainly arrogant, unwise and probably unworkable.”

Three council members—Rose Herrera, Xavier Campos and Kansen Chu—favor an outright ban for San Jose, which seems pretty out of synch with the will of the public. A city-led poll found that about 60 percent of respondents wanted pot club regulations and only 16 percent wanted a total ban.

Nationwide, 86 percent of Americans support medical access to marijuana and 56 percent want it legalized for adult use, according to a CBS poll in January.

The city may roll out another poll to gauge public sentiment now that the rules are already in place. Mayor Chuck Reed on Monday submitted a memo proposing a new poll. Sample questions include:

Do you think the regulations approved by the Council are
Too tough?
Just about right?
Not tough enough and marijuana dispensaries should be banned?

It also asks if the public would support upping the marijuana business tax from 10 percent of gross receipts to 20 percent.

Anthony is leading one of two efforts to place an initiative with a laxer regulatory program on the fall ballot. The other, led by the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition, offers its own set of regulations and would create a cannabis commission.

Both groups plan to protest the city's ordinance at its final reading Tuesday.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for June 17, 2014:

  • Councilman Don Rocha says he'll support whatever legal costs it takes to appeal parts of Measure B pension reforms. The city has been mired in court battles over the measure since voters approved it in 2012. "Are we going to continue drag the 10th largest city in the country through legal quagmire, and if so, to what end?" Rocha asks.
  •  Cisco will donate 21 acres of land as burrowing owl habitat.
  • About 75 electricians will get a 3 percent pay raise, according to a pending labor agreement between their union and the city.
  • The San Jose Municipal Golf Course will shrink by more than 26,000 square feet to cut maintenance costs and bring it around $960,000 for the city.
  • Federal grants will help the city pay $2 million to house some of the city's chronically homeless.
  • A $500,000 loan will help a developer get started on a 135-unit low-income apartment complex on Second Street.
  • A fire displaced residents of a low-income housing complex on Roundtable Drive in January. The city looks to spend nearly $500,000 to repair the damage.
  • More than $2 million in grants will help pay for new solar panels at the San Jose Environmental Innovation Center.
  • Silicon Valley ties for second place with Los Angeles for traffic. The average South Bay driver spends 61 hours sitting in gridlocks, the city says in a memo asking to support construction of high-occupancy vehicle express lanes on Highway 85.
  • The city will explore the idea of leasing space to Google for $3.50 per square foot a year for the search giant to expand its Google Fiber network.
  • Rocha wants the city to poll the public to see if it's worth placing a quarter-cent sales tax on the November ballot. The council has until Aug. 8 to vote in time to get a new tax measure on the fall ballot. Other ideas include Reed's 20 percent marijuana tax and a municipal parcel tax.
  • Councilman Campos screwed up a vote for planning commissioner and wants a do-over.
  • A lobbyist may get an exception to a local rule that prevents ex-city staffers from lobbying the city within two years of leaving the job. Josue Garcia used to work as a policy aide for Councilman Xavier Campos. Now he’s head of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Construction and Trade Union and wants to lobby the biggest city in his market on behalf of his members.
  • The city will consider forming a downtown parks maintenance district, paid for by developer fees.
  • A plan that spells out the future of downtown San Jose's transit-oriented development comes up for a final vote, too. The Diridon Station Area Plan maps out the 30-year future of the public transit hub and has the potential to transform the city—and Silicon Valley—from a car-dependent sprawl into a dense, sustainable city.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 11am Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

9 Comments

  1. Say goodbye to all that Measure U money as patients who can’t smoke will now have to drive down Highway 9 to Boulder Creek or Santa Cruz to get their edibles. Once again the council cuts off its nose to spite its face.

    • Agreed , People who need the Medicine travel to get it and spend their money in that City . This Mayor and Council are absolutely worthless . The Damage that they have done to this city will take decades to overcome . BUT realize this , Legalization is coming and nothing that this narrow minded Mayor and Council do , will stop it .

  2. Maybe with all the pressing city issues, this mayor and city council should continue working and meeting throughout July, rather than take the entire month of July off as they do every year.

  3. “An ordinance that would limit medical marijuana collectives to just 1 percent of the city comes up for a final reading at the City Council this week.

    The regulations voted in last week by the council will shutter some 90 percent of the city’s pot clubs and require surviving establishments to grow their entire stock in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara or San Benito counties. No one with a criminal record or even a parking ticket in the past decade can work in a dispensary. And any shop out of compliance with these rules in about a month from now will have to pack up and leave.”

    Jennifer, it is obvious that the above information was fed to you by opponents of the ordinances. By printing these PR messages for them, it begs the question whether you even read the ordinances up for a vote today: http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32483, http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32454

    Let’s go piece by piece here:

    “…ordinance that would limit medical marijuana collectives to just 1 percent of the city…”

    Where did the 1 percent number come from? Did you take the square footage of all the 623 parcels where a dispensary could be set up, and compare it to the total square footage available for commercial operations in the city? You should have attributed that number to something—an analysis, a person, etc.—and state whether the person had evidence to back that number up.

    “…will shutter some 90 percent of the city’s pot clubs and require surviving establishments to grow their entire stock in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara or San Benito counties.”

    Establishments that “don’t survive” being shuttered have the option to move and set up shop in one of the parcels identified by staff. The impression that you leave when you say “survive” is that those collectives that are not in compliance with the new ordinance won’t have an opportunity to relocate. As far as cultivation, the dispensaries will actually be allowed to cultivate in several other counties; per page 35 of the Title 6 amendments: “The Cultivation Site shall be located within one of the following counties: Santa Clara, Alameda, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, or Stanislaus.”

    “No one with a criminal record or even a parking ticket in the past decade can work in a dispensary.”

    This statement is completely false. A criminal record on its own will not disqualify someone from working at a collective. Only some convictions will be automatic disqualifiers as detailed on page 39 of the Title 6 ordinance. Nowhere in the amendment to Title 6 does it state that parking citations or low level, non-drug-related offenses will disqualify someone from working at a collective.

    “And any shop out of compliance with these rules in about a month from now will have to pack up and leave.”

    Per Councilmember Liccardo’s memo, (http://www.sanjoseinside.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Motion-MMJ-June-10-meeting-UPDATED.doc) which you were very nice to post last week (thank you!), the council adopted Mayor Reed’s memo (http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/30667) that states that collectives that have been paying the city tax, have not been a nuisance, are not within the distance requirements of sensitive uses, and are eligible to register and have registered within 90 days for a Zoning Verification and Registration can stay in their location for a year. Therefore, because Mayor Reed’s memo gives many collectives a grace period much longer than “about a month” to comply with most of the new ordinances, only some collectives “will have to pack up and leave”.

    Jennifer, I really appreciate your reporting and you, SJI, and Metro have given the San Jose community a great news outlet other than the daily, but please do a little journalism 101 editing before 1) posting information that can easily be discredited by simply educating yourself about the subject you are writing about and 2) posting information that should be attributed to a source and is not generally accepted information.

  4. An ordinance that would limit medical marijuana collectives to just 1 percent of the city comes up for a final reading at the City Council this week.
    The regulations voted in last week by the council will shutter some 90 percent of the city’s pot clubs and require surviving establishments to grow their entire stock in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara or San Benito counties. No one with a criminal record or even a parking ticket in the past decade can work in a dispensary. And any shop out of compliance with these rules in about a month from now will have to pack up and leave.”
    Jennifer, it is obvious that the above information was fed to you by opponents of the ordinances. By printing these PR messages for them, it begs the question whether you even read the ordinances up for a vote today: http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32483, http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32454
    Let’s go piece by piece here:
    “…ordinance that would limit medical marijuana collectives to just 1 percent of the city…”
    Where did the 1 percent number come from? Did you take the square footage of all the 623 parcels where a dispensary could be set up, and compare it to the total square footage available for commercial operations in the city? You should have attributed that number to something—an analysis, a person, etc.—and state whether the person had evidence to back that number up.
    “…will shutter some 90 percent of the city’s pot clubs and require surviving establishments to grow their entire stock in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara or San Benito counties.”
    Establishments that “don’t survive” being shuttered have the option to move and set up shop in one of the parcels identified by staff. The impression that you leave when you say “survive” is that those collectives that are not in compliance with the new ordinance won’t have an opportunity to relocate. As far as cultivation, the dispensaries will actually be allowed to cultivate in several other counties; per page 35 of the Title 6 amendments: “The Cultivation Site shall be located within one of the following counties: Santa Clara, Alameda, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, or Stanislaus.”
    “No one with a criminal record or even a parking ticket in the past decade can work in a dispensary.”
    This statement is completely false. A criminal record on its own will not disqualify someone from working at a collective. Only some convictions will be automatic disqualifiers as detailed on page 39 of the Title 6 ordinance. Nowhere in the amendment to Title 6 does it state that parking citations or low level, non-drug-related offenses will disqualify someone from working at a collective.
    “And any shop out of compliance with these rules in about a month from now will have to pack up and leave.”
    Per Councilmember Liccardo’s memo, (http://www.sanjoseinside.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Motion-MMJ-June-10-meeting-UPDATED.doc) which you were very nice to post last week (thank you!), the council adopted Mayor Reed’s memo (http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/30667) that states that collectives that have been paying the city tax, have not been a nuisance, are not within the distance requirements of sensitive uses, and are eligible to register and have registered within 90 days for a Zoning Verification and Registration can stay in their location for a year. Therefore, because Mayor Reed’s memo gives many collectives a grace period much longer than “about a month” to comply with most of the new ordinances, only some collectives “will have to pack up and leave”.
    Jennifer, I really appreciate your reporting and you, SJI, and Metro have given the San Jose community a great news outlet other than the daily, but please do a little journalism 101 editing before 1) posting information that can easily be discredited by simply educating yourself about the subject you are writing about and 2) posting information that should be attributed to a source and is not generally accepted information.

  5. Good God. The miscellaneous extra items on the City Council agenda that Jennifer includes make this silly marijuana discussion look about as relevant as those goofy futbol “matches” being played on the “pitch” in Brazil.
    Take the one about the photovoltaic cells for San Jose’s new Environmental Education Center for instance.
    $3,158,490 will be spent on a system that “staff” skites will save the City $100,000 per year. What fiscal geniuses “staff” must be!
    Of course, 70% of this money comes from senile old $17 trillion in debt Uncle Sam who’s completely lost his mind writing bad checks to every snake oil salesman that bends his ear. But our Democrat politicians take advantage of their feeble old relative’s senility every chance they get. And somehow they don’t lose any sleep over it. Go figure.

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