UPDATE, Oct. 19, 2016: In a 10-1 vote, the council agreed to allow collectives to have more than one cultivation site and make deliveries.
If California votes to legalize small amounts of cannabis for the 21-and-up crowd under Proposition 64, it would dramatically alter the regulatory landscape. The initiative would allow adults to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, up to four grams of concentrates and grow up to six plants at home.
But existing rules about zoning, taxes and licensing would stay in place. In San Jose, that means the 16 already licensed collectives will remain the only legal operators.
Meanwhile, San Jose will consider revising some of its local rules. On Tuesday, the City Council will consider whether to sanction weed delivery for licensed collectives. It will also vote on a proposal to allow more than one cultivation site that collectives can share. Instead of grows being limited to Santa Clara County or neighboring jurisdictions, the city will also explore the idea of allowing them anywhere in the state.
When San Jose enacted its pot laws in 2014, the state was still more than a year away from passing its own licensing requirements for medical dispensaries. Once Gov. Jerry Brown approved California’s licensing scheme in October last year, the city began to look at how it could streamline local rules with the statewide program.
“Our program has continued to evolve as things evolved at the state level,” says Michelle McGurk, assistant to the city manager. “We very much needed a state regulatory framework. The reason we’re now comfortable expanding cultivation sites elsewhere in the state is because the state is going to be licensing these now.”
The question of whether to allow deliveries in San Jose came up earlier this year when Eaze, a company calling itself the “Uber of pot,” announced that a citywide poll showed overwhelming support for door-to-door service. Currently, more than 30 weed delivery services advertise in San Jose—all of them illegal.
Under the proposal put forward at Tuesday’s council meeting, only the 16 permitted collectives would be allowed to deliver marijuana. Deliveries would be limited to the hours of 8am to midnight and drivers must undergo background checks through the San Jose Police Department. Delivery cars will need cameras and GPS systems to ensure the product gets from point A to B.
San Jose’s regulations still require a closed-loop model, which means collectives need to bring every part of the process from seed to sale under their own purview. Last year, the city allowed licensed collectives to buy medical marijuana from one another. The city also allowed a “carryover period” until this December to buy from third-party vendors.
Though Gov. Brown approved the state-licensing framework a year ago, it won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018. To prepare for the rollout and the possible legalization of adult-use this Election Day, the city is building up a dedicated division of marijuana control. Last week, a recruiting firm narrowed down a pool of candidates who are interested in leading the division, which would fall under police authority but coordinate with departments of finance, code enforcement and others.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for October 17, 2016:
- San Jose’s police department may get help recruiting new officers from an outside marketing firm, if the city agrees to a $200,000 contract with Civilian Inc.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260