San Jose city councilmembers hope to be able to count the number of marijuana dispensaries on their fingers. The compromise measure authored by Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and approved Tuesday by a split council hopes to reduce the number of city collectives, which currently number more than 100, to no more than 10.
Five councilmembers opposed the measure: three because they thought an arbitrary cap was premature, and two because they wanted to ensure that the only kush sold in San Jose was done so illegally. Long queues for medical marijuana patients and operators applying for permits will no doubt result if the consolidation program is realized.
Plan Nguyen will issue licenses for collectives that pass background checks and meet other tests on a first-come-first-served basis. Before Nguyen’s memo was blessed by Mayor Chuck Reed and councilmembers Pete Constant, Rose Herrera, Sam Liccardo and Nancy Pyle, the draft received some not-so-subtle amendments.
Collectives will now be forced to cultivate on-site—which pretty much ensures that all 10 approved dispensaries will be massive horticultural and vending operations. Other amendments mandate that no more than two collectives can be located within any council district, that retail activity cannot occur on the first floor locations in the downtown area or at major shopping destinations (point, Liccardo) and that anyone with a misdemeanor on their record—even for pot possession, which is now an infraction—could potentially be refused a permit.
The council agreed to forget some, er, unique ideas that had been discussed previously, such as a rule that collective employees be paid in pot, and another outlawing edible products and ointments. Councilmembers Kansen Chu and Xavier Campos, clearly wishing they were back in the pre-Prop 215 1990s, virtually ignored the discussion at hand and held out for a total ban.
Before the vote, SJPD Chief Chris Moore (who reported that he had in fact voted for Prop. 215), rattled off statistics to show that the collectives are a public-safety threat, and reminded the council that technically all collectives are illegal (well, duh).
Councilmembers Ash Kalra, Pierluigi Oliverio and Donald Rocha, who proffered their own entirely rational motion calling on the city to write a strict set of regulations and then determine the appropriate number of dispensaries, were drowned by the reefer madness hysteria. Instead, the city will adopt a Land Rush permitting approach, virtually ensuring a flood of lawsuits from those left out in the cold.