Implementing Proposition 215 in San Jose

I support an ordinance in San Jose that allows for the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana dispensaries/collectives.

Proposition 215, which was passed with voter approval in 1996,  called for the legalization of Medicinal Marijuana with 56 percent of the voters in favor. Santa Clara County supported this proposition by 64 percent. Since then, the legislature has passed SB420 which dealt with the actual implementation of Medical Marijuana.

In 2008, the State Attorney General presented Guidelines for the Security and Non-diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use. Most recently, on Oct 19, 2009, the Obama administration stated that they are not prosecuting medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal: California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Maine, Rhode Island, Alaska and Hawaii.

I understand that proposing to allow the cultivation and sale of cannabis will raise questions and concerns. This issue did not happen overnight, but rather has taken a pragmatic and thoughtful approach which has included voter approval, state and federal guidelines.

Marijuana for medical use is legal. Thousands of people who are living with painful ailments currently use cannabis for potential deadly diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and others. It was not unheard of for doctors in the past to have told their patients to have their family members go and purchase marijuana for them, illegally, since the medical benefits of cannabis help the patient.

Currently, San Jose residents travel to San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Cruz to obtain medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. However, since this is a legal use and and in my opinion, especially since the voters approved the use, San Jose should adopt some type of ordinance that allows and monitors the use of cannabis collectives in San Jose. In addition, the way that the dispensaries are set up, money is used as an incentive for the City and uses as a deterrent for anyone who would choose to disobey the law.

Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries will open, whether San Jose has an ordinance or not, and will use the court system to stay open. Most recently the city of Los Angeles which has over 500 dispensaries of which only 186 our licensed, lost their court case in limiting how many could exist in their city. If San Jose sits docile, then dispensaries may open in places where we do not want them to be located. In addition, if medical marijuana dispensaries get the right to deliver their product through the mail, then San Jose would lose any opportunity to gain revenue from taxes and fees.

Last week I submitted a memo that includes the following: directing the planning staff to bring back an ordinance to the city council in four months; use industrial land since typically industrial land is not next to schools or churches. The goal is that this use would add value to industrial property owners who would might be less likely to try and convert their land to housing.

An example of an existing ordinance is the City of Oakland. Oakland voters passed a ballot measure by 80 percent to raise the tax on marijuana to $18 for every $1,000 of sales. My suggestion is to set it at nearly twice as much: $30 for every $1,000 of marijuana sales. I believe that depending on how many dispensaries San Jose would allow could bring in $500K to $1 million to the city. I have suggested that this money be put aside and spent on core services which would be police officers and street maintenance.

Here is a link to the entire memo: 10-27-09 Adopt Ordinance for Legal Medical Cannabis Use San Jose



  1. I feel real cool with good ol’ weed.  I got myself a note from one doc for my heart condition, and I got myself another note for my shingles.  This medical stuff is the best that thing we got.  Wonder if I can get a note for my multiple personalities?

    • You consider 3%, taxing “the crap out of ill people”?  Get real, they could easily impose more.  Read this carefully “$30 for every $1,000 of marijuana sales” which is 3 percent of sales.  I think it’s a drop in the bucket to keep this all legal and help out the City.  If people see social benefits from this tax, they’re more likely to accept the practice.

  2. There was a group in Mountain View trying to open one a few years back.  The biggest problem we had was that there was no uniform standard in the county.  This led to some fear that, if Mountain View allowed them, we would be the only one in the county.

    It ended up dying in study session 4-3.  A well thought out San Jose policy would probably help win approval in some of the smaller cities so the burden gets spread out.

    Based on our review of Oakland, the marijuana dispensary tax will probably have to go toward police protection for the dispensaries.  This doesn’t make it a bad idea- it just means it needs to be well thought out.

    • “Based on our review of Oakland, the marijuana dispensary tax will probably have to go toward police protection for the dispensaries.”

      Actually, Measure F business taxes go to Oakland’s general fund. The ordinance reads “all revenues received from the tax will be deposited in the general fund of the City to be expended for general fund purposes”

  3. I appreciate that you choose to proactively regulate instead of shunning a taboo, demonizing it or pretending it’s a an issue of degenerate addicts instead of wealthy traffickers.

  4. Notwithstanding the fact that voters passed a “medical marijuana” law, still I think the voters were sold a bill of goods and made a big mistake.

    Whatever it is that is therapeutic about marijuana is surely available as a conventional perscription pharmaceutical.  Just get a prescription from a real doctor and get your THP tabs if you REALLY have a medical need.

    The whole idea of medicinal joints is bogus and a sham.  It’s just the usual anti-social narcissists trying to show that they’re smarter and more clever than authentic medical authorites.

    However, if the political establishment is going to go along with medical pot distribution, I demand that they impose ALL the harrassing restrictions that they oppose on lawful products that the left doesn’t like.

    How about:

    1. A thirty day waiting period before the purchase of a joint.

    2. No pot smoking withing a thousand feet of a school.

    3. No pot smoking while operating a motor vehicle or power tools.

    4. No pot smoking indoors, or in any enclosed or confined space.  Not pot smoking in an automobile.

    5. No pot smoking where any human being or pet is likely to be exposed to second hand smoke.

    6. No pot smoking outdoors within twenty feet of the entrance to any building or a pedestrain right of way.

    7. No pot smoking in sight of any child (defined as a person under 25 years of age).

    8. No theatrical or cinematic portrayals that glorify pot smoking.  No heroic characters on television, in the movies, or on stage may be depicted as smoking pot.

    9. All restaurants and bars shall be designated as pot free zones.

    And this is just for starters.

    • Hear, hear! I am with you 100% on this issue, and you make a very cogent, reasoned argument.

      Medical marijuana clubs are the thin end of the wedge, opening the door to illegal use of marijuana by facilitating its entry into the community. Buyers who have legitimized their status by obtaining a note from a willing doctor turn around and sell the legally-obtained dope to kids. Marijuana is a highly addictive and destructive substance – just ask anyone who is involved in substance abuse programs, especially programs for teens.

      The pro- “medical” dope proponents will, and have, portrayed those who oppose marijuana smoking for medical purposes as dupes of the medical establishment, but as a parent who has seen firsthand the disastrous effects of marijuana use in teens, I am 100% opposed to its legalization.

      • Actually…if it is just a sham, why do the following (partial list)of organizations support the medical use of cannabis: American Academy of family Physicians, American Cancer Society, California Nurses Association, California Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet,National Nurses Society on Addictions, Lymphoma Foundation of America, American Society of Addiction Medicine…just to name a few!

        You have every right to your opinion, but have an open mind and check into the subject a little deeper…maybe talk to a few cancer patients that use medical cannabis.

        • > Actually…if it is just a sham, why do the following (partial list)of organizations support the medical use of cannabis:

          Because the leadership of those organizations have been hi-jacked by crypto-Marxist fifth columnists.

          It is a society wide phenomenon in the age of Obama.  There is a vast, vast gap between what the memberships of organizations BELIEVE and the actions that are taken by the leadership elites that are supposedly acting in their behalf.

          The leadership of the Evangelical movement just endorsed amnesty for illegals aliens.  The majority of Evangelicals oppose amnesty.

          The Ford Foundation has become a leading source of left wing organizations across the board.  Henry Ford, who established the foundation, would NEVER have endorsed the current activities of his foundation.

          The American public opposes the Obama Health Care Reform/Public Option by a WIDE margin.  The Obama administration and there captive media are relentlessy pushing an agenda that the public NOW opposes.

          Amnesty for illegal aliens, mediocre government healthcare, and job crushing taxes on businesses are NOT in the interests of union members, YET the union leadership pushes and supports these policies to the detriment of their members.

          Never in American history has the agenda and the actions of the political elites been so at odds with interests and beliefs of the American public.

          Because of the deceit and malfeasance of so much of the institutional leadership in this country, the elections of 2010 are shaping up as a tidal wave of “throwing the bums out” exceeding the mass bum ejections of 1994.

  5. Oh yes. By all means. Encourage all kinds of destructive behaviour, including drug use, if it’ll mean more revenue for the City.
    A new City bureaucracy. More “green” jobs. This sounds just swell.

    • “Destructive behavior?” Really? Doctor-prescribed marijuana for severely ill patients is the downfall of society? I truly wonder if some people are mentally able to think critically about matters such as this. I’d say old stigmas and hocus pocus are still molding some minds.

  6. This seems to me a lot like the issue of gay marriage: either it is permissable or it is not, either it is harmful or it is not, either the advantages of choice outweigh the harm to society, or they do not. This does not seem a public voting issue.

  7. As a city taxpayer trying to think out of the box on ideas to help the city generate revenue to help alleviate our budget crisis, I’m curious to know if the leaders of our city have thought about the idea of creating a red light district where they can contain, regulate and tax the vices of individuals who participate in such activities?

    Outside of asking the taxpayer for more money, are there any other ideas that can generate a significant amount of revenue to help the city?

    • San Jose Taxpayer:

      Patients using doctor-recommended cannabis to alleviate symptoms of illness are not participating in “vices” – we are asking for an ordinance regulating medical cannabis cooperatives, not amsterdam-like coffee shops.

      Marnie Regen
      Americans for Safe Access-Silicon Valley

  8. Pier,
    I’m confused about this whole issue. I have never understood the big deal about pot. What is the big difference between pot, and booze? Is it because one is legal to anyone who wants it, and one is only legal for people who are gravely ill? I am serious; I just don’t see the difference. We tax booze, we have laws, policies, and guidelines for selling it, and where it can be sold, so what is the big deal here?

  9. Go for the gold – grass/coke, prostitution and full bore (non-tribal) casino gambling!  California would be flush for decades.

  10. What is the difference between a happy hippy and a Mexican drug lord?  Loads and loads of weapons.  Remove prohibition, regulate the industry and we get rid of the weapons.  Meanwhile any ordinance should be very clear that we want the doctors and not gangsters.

    • There’s an outdated stereotype – the happy, goofy hippie, selling good ol’ natural weed.

      Marijuana, even in a relatively un-enhanced state – and believe me, it’s less than common to come across that kind these days – is dangerously addictive to persons with a physiological and psychological bent toward addiction, and physically destructive, especially in the brain, to EVERYONE, even with “moderate” use.

      I’m not belittling folks who are looking for some relief from the pain resulting from cancer or other debilitating conditions – I watched my wife balance a daily intake of morphine for pain and dexedrine to keep her conscious for 18 months before cancer took her from me, but I have also spent four years dealing with, and countering, my teenaged son’s descent into addiction, which turned him from a bright, responsive, athletic, musically-talented youngster into a surly, angry, destructive, unmotivated young man who abandoned friends, promising athletic and musical talents and a good start on a bright future in favour of “hanging-out” with loser dopeheads and getting high.

      The beneficial medical effects of marijuana’s active ingredients can be realised in legitimate medical forms without, or with a great deal less of, the generally-sought-after intoxicating side-effects. “Medical” marijuana is a sham, a cover up for dopeheads who find a willing medico to write them a prescription for a legal high – and who are as likely to turn around and sell it, or at least part of it, as they are to actually smoke it.

      • WillotheGlen,

        Is it possible that the problems your son is encountering are a direct result of the loss of his mother?  You are blaming his decline on substance abuse, but as I see it, his substance abuse is his misguided attempt to alleviate the pain of losing his mother.  He is most likely acting out and using drugs as a way to cope with his depression.  He has gone down hill because he is depressed, not because he is smoking pot.

        Also, could you provide some evidence that supports your statement ” Marijuana, even in a relatively un-enhanced state – and believe me, it’s less than common to come across that kind these days – is dangerously addictive to persons with a physiological and psychological bent toward addiction, and physically destructive, especially in the brain, to EVERYONE, even with “moderate” use.”  Something tells me that this is just ‘opinion’ rather than fact as I have never seen evidence to the contrary.

        I also get the feeling that you are also depressed, and are therefore fighting this non-sensical battle on drugs because you feel the need to blame someone or something for your pain.  Of course, that is just my opinion.

        • Just Sayin’ –

          You are assuming that the wife I lost to cancer is my son’s mother. Not so.

          My information on the effects of marijuana come from hours and hours of educational and counseling sessions that are part of my son’s treatment of his addiction.

          The only thing that depresses me more than the thought of un-authorized, illegal MMCs opening up in San Jose, is the dealing with conclusion-jumping morons like you…

        • Pot is cool, very cool, if people smoked more pot, and less crank, then we would have a cool society.

          I need to switch myself.

          2012 is coming.  Keep ammo available

  11. > so what is the big deal here?

    It’s really quite simple.

    Although it is seldom explicitly acknowledged, the fundamental philosophical premise of Western Civilization is that human beings have “free will”.

    Whether of not every individual actually has or acts like they have free will is not the issue.  The “design specification” for our civilization BEGINS with the premise that every individual has free will.

    If a civilization assumes that some people or all people, except for an elite, DO NOT have free will, then that is rationale for authoritarianism.

    Addictions, such as drugs or alcohol, diminish and sometimes completely destroy free will.  To the extent that a significant segment of society surrenders its free will and accepts addiction, the society loses the capacity to function as a “free” society and makes itself susceptible to authoritarianism.

    The most benighted imaginable policy is for the government to actually provide addictive substances for its citizens.  Yet, well-meaning people are always suggesting that the government should supply cheap, wholesome drugs as a means of driving the drug criminals out of business.

    Legalizing addictive substances makes sense ONLY if those who require the supply of addictive drugs from the government also agree to become “wards of the state”, give up their right to vote, and cede to the govenment the right to manage their welfare.

    It doesn’t make any difference if the addictive substance is chemically addictive, like alchohol, or “psychologically addictive” like pot.  If a person craves it on a regular basis, and it diminishes free will, he should be a ward of the state rather than a voter.

    • Your argument goes to rather silly extremes.  Not all addictive substances are equal.  I just had a cup of coffee.  I did not take PCP.  There is a reason for that.

      • > Your argument goes to rather silly extremes.

        I’m very disheartened and disappointed to learn that you found my argument silly.

        I thought it was thoughtful, incisive, perspicacious, penetrating, nuanced, and just downright brilliant.

        I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

      • > Are you assuming every addict is incapable of functioning within society?

        A truly addicted person is incabable of FULLY functioning in a society founded on the premise that people have free will and are REPONSIBLE for providing for the own needs.

        Consumption of an addictive substance does not automatically result in addiction.  But it LEADS to addiction.

        Consumers of addictive substances are terrible judges of how much they can consume WITHOUT getting addicted.

  12. Alcohol is far more destructive then marijuana. We tried prohibition of alcohol and it failed. However it did line the pockets of organized crime during that time.

    • > Alcohol is far more destructive then marijuana.

      Possibly true, but so what.

      Marijuana is still destructive. 

      It’s a stupid argument to say it’s OK to use because it is less destructive than alcohol.

      Eating yourself to death with chocolate cream pies is less destructive than committing suicide with a chainsaw.  It’s still not a good idea, unless you’re on death row.

        • Without a doubt – so let’s not cheapen the pain of people with a real need for relief by getting them lumped in with the dopehead losers who are going to worm their way into this system and use it to propagate the disease of addiction.

        • > You know what’s really destructive? Terminal illness.

          Are suggesting that since “terminally” ill people are going to die anyway, they should be free game for any quack who claims to have a life saving or life enhancing remedy?

          People in medically desperate situations need MORE protection by ethical, clear thinking, financially disinterested, science based experts then people in general.

          People selling pot to terminally ill people are easily confused with scummy vermin pushing drugs on vulnerable victims.

      • “Marijuana is still destructive.”

        Could you provide a reference for this statement – how marijuana is “still destructive” for patients using it per their doctors to alleviate pain, nausea and other symptoms of illness? Thank you.

    • If the consensus of the medical community is that pot has no unique therapeutic benefit and likewise has significant risk of chemical or psychological addition, then City Hall or the U.S. Congress can justifiably act on the judgement of competent experts and ban the stuff.

      No need to waste valuble doctor time answering the same stupid question over and over.  In theory, medical treatments are based on “protocols”, which are standardized, calibrated, and tested treatments for specific diagnoses.

      If there is no diagnosis which includes pot in the treatment protocol, doctors should not be prescribing it.  Doctors who do prescribe it should have their licenses yanked.

  13. Are San Jose’s new plastic bag laws going to apply at the new medicinal marijuana joints, I mean outlets? If this medicinal marijuana is used for compassionate medical reasons, then there should be no extra tax. We don’t tax normal prescriptions after all.

  14. Pier,

    Perhaps I’m naïve but I believe the reason voters passed Prop 215 was to give a person suffering from a painful or terminal illness the option of using medicinal marijuana to ease their pain and suffering. Generating revenue for city services was not on the minds of voters at the ballot box.
    It is cruel, immoral and inhumane to profit from someone’s agony and despair. There are many other ways to generate revenue for the city without punishing those who have the misfortune of getting cancer. I find your lack of compassion disturbing. But then again, you are a politician.

  15. The “respected”?? HA…doofinator?? aka Thurston Thatcher Hedgewick youre a complete and utter moron!!  Family members and friends should disown and shun you, permanently!!  You are a disgrace to the human race and its individuals like yourself who hope that the general population remains uneducated and ignorant so that you can manipulate them and convince them to comply with whatever your pathetic agenda is!!  You are DESPICABLE!!  Every 10 minutes in the United States ALONE, at least 1 person dies from either an overdose or an allergic reaction from prescription drugs (100,000 Americans annually)!!  In 7-10 millenniums of WORLDWIDE Cannabis consumption, 0 people have died from an allergic reaction or an overdose!!  Imbecile!!  Every Medical Marijuana initiative is combated against by groups claiming that legalizing Cannabis for medical purposes would “send the wrong message to our children” and create a “social pandemic”… Apparently kids can think for themselves according to The California Attorney Generals Survey where it quite clearly shows an ENORMOUS DECLINE IN YOUTH USAGE (20-50%)(7-12 grade students) since the enactment of Californias Medical Cannabis laws in 1997!!!  Sit on that and spin “respected”!!  The FDA and Justice Department claim that cannabis has “no proven medical value”…Who do you think the intellectual and the sick know are lying??  Thousands and thousands of years worth of civilizations across the world who utilized the plant and flower, or our government??  YOU ARE A PART OF THE PROBLEM, YOUR ACTIONS ARE DEPLORABLE!!  On January 1st of 2007 the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club released a document showing over 500 different ailments from which patients had been recommended cannabis for to ease their suffering.  Are you implying that MS, ADHD, Tourette’s, AIDS, IBD, PTSD, Epileptic, Crones, Migraine, back pain, Scoliosis, Depression, Glaucoma, Anxiety, Anorexia, Cancer, and other seriously ill patients are lying about the benefits of Cannabis??  Again, you are a coward..facts defecate and urinate all over you!!!  I was prescribed an array of medication throughout my childhood which wreaked havoc on my body and substantially compromised my youth years!  The nightmare began at 5 years old.  Because of AMPHETAMINES that I was prescribed (e.g. ritalin); I wasnt eating breakfast or lunch, I wasnt sleeping at night, I had induced headaches, I was very depressed, I felt nauseous often, and I broke 9 bones.  Why??  Because its ok to feed a child amphetamine derivative drugs and rape them of vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and sleep!!  But adults who have certain disabling medical conditions should be prohibited from ingesting or inhaling Cannabis??  Again, youre brilliant and genuinely admirable!!!  Pinhead!!!  People are suffering, we have an ethical responsibility to help these people when capable of doing so!!  You suggest TAXATION???  really??  You believe its socially acceptable to exploit patients and their conditions by forcing them to pay a sales tax to fix our steets??????  DISGUSTING!!!!!  Living with an ailment is a HARDSHIP stop acting as if being subjected to medication on a daily basis is a luxury!!!!  Prescription drugs ARE NOT taxed, herbs ARE NOT taxed..but you want to tax Cannabis?!?!??  You are negatively impacting the lives of many, you should be ashamed!!  I have medicated with Cannabis since the age of 16 to alleviate the hardships of ADHD and Migraines.  Every employer has always considered me a “gem” a “jewel” an “asset” to their company!!  I have managed 3 different establishments and I have owned and successfully operated 3 of my own businesses.  I am currently 31.  I take pride in others emphasizing and reiterating to me often what a respectful person I am.  I believe in raising others while raising ourselves.  BUT YOU SIR NEED TO STOP SPREADING FALSITIES AND FEAR OR ELSE I WILL FOREVER BELITTLE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have two options..  either you can cower and deplorably neglect the weak and ill, or you can strive for greatness by educating yourself and speaking up on their behalf.  Every moral individuals knows which path Jesus walks….  I walk with him, you should do the same Thurston Thatcher Hedgewick!!  Godspeed with everything towards the betterment of our society and future humanity!!!

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