Mayor Chuck Reed had originally wanted to wait until November to consider a proposal to regulate medicinal cannabis collectives. Before yesterday’s vote, Reed said he wanted to see if voters would approve a state initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. But after the proposal’s author, Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio, agreed to include some flexibility on zoning, taxes and the timing of the final City Council vote on the matter, Reed agreed to support it.
The measure passed yesterday on a 6-4 vote. Councilmembers Oliverio, Sam Liccardo, Ash Kalra, Rose Herrera, Judy Chirco and Mayor Reed approved the proposal. Councilmembers Madison Nguyen, Nora Campos, Kansen Chu and Nancy Pyle opposed the recommendation, while Pete Constant was not present.
Oliverio’s original plan called for the collectives to be located in industrial areas and established a special business sales tax. It would create a referendum requiring approval by two-thirds of the voters. City staff was directed to return the proposal to the City Council by April 27. Reed convinced Oliverio to change those points.
Reed said he didn’t want the pot club recommendation to jump ahead of the San Jose ballpark environmental impact report or a pending sign ordinance update, so it will not return to the City Council until June.
After the meeting, Reed said that there were a few things he didn’t like about Oliverio’s proposal, but he felt that the City Council needed to sort things out.
“Are we going to lose control or are we going to tax, regulate and control?” Reed asked. “I think it is important for us to control what goes on in our city.”
Reed said he was still concerned that if the November ballot measure legalizing recreational use of marijuana passes it will “change all the rules again, and we may just waste a whole bunch of effort.”
The original plan included a moratorium on pot clubs. Liccardo said that there was no point in placing a moratorium on collectives or dispensaries because they are already illegal. Nguyen said she couldn’t support the measure if it didn’t include a moratorium.
Members of the public spoke out overwhelmingly in favor of the regulations. Many of the speakers represented different dispensaries and collectives. Among the more than three dozen people that spoke in favor of the cannabis clubs, many spoke of illnesses they suffered, and said marijuana helped them manage.
Only ten people spoke against the collectives. Half of them were against one cooperative, Purple Elephant, which they said was a bad neighbor, while the other half were completely against any form of legalization of marijuana.
“Councilmembers Madison Nguyen, Nora Campos, Kansen Chu and Nancy Pyle opposed the recommendation, while Pete Constant was not present.”
I’d like to know why City Councilmembers Campos and Chu voted no on the proposed ordinance to regulate marijuana in San Jose. My recollection is that they did not say anything during a long debate among council members – they just voted no. I’d also like to know why Pete Constant left and did not participate or vote. Finally, I think Councilmember Nguyen voted no since she wanted a moratorium, but that was not clear either.
San Jose should not be wasting tax payer’s money on an ordinance that will last only 5 months. What will happen when the state writes its own ordinance in November? The city will be back at square one trying to work around state law. All the clubs are doing fine just like any other business in town. I have not heard any complaints about them on the news, besides the city bothering them from time to time. If the city really wants to help the community, they should first go after Bay 101 casino and neighborhood liquor stores.