San Jose Marijuana Initiative Aims for 2014 Ballot

A group of dispensary owners filed an initiative to bring a full set of marijuana regulations to San Jose voters this fall.

The “Medical Marijuana Regulation for San Jose Act of 2014” aims to set a minimum of 50 pot clubs. It also asks the city to form a cannabis commission similar to the advisory boards it has for libraries and parks, land use and transportation, among other interests.

“A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is a follows: By regulating medical cannabis dispensaries, the city of San Jose will ensure adequate access while protecting public safety. This act will control the proliferation of dispensaries, ensure dispensaries are safe distances from schools and require dispensaries to obey strict operational standards” All-American Cannabis Club owner Dave Hodges writes in a letter accompanying the petition. “Also, this act will improve the local economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the city of San Jose.”

Proponents want to garner the 20,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot. The initiative shows that collectives aren’t opposed to regulation, Hodges says.

“We actually want reasonable regulation,” he said at a meeting last week. “We want a clear set of rules to follow.”

After a failed 2011 ordinance to regulate local pot clubs, San Jose has struggled to police the burgeoning marijuana sector. It implemented a 10-percent tax on marijuana businesses, but was never able to pass a local land-use ordinance governing where a pot club could set up shop. The result: collectives wound up near schools, homes and other “sensitive use” areas.

In December, the City Council ordered city staff to sent notices to some of those collectives, ordering them to shut down by the end of this month. In March, the city will consider adopting either a ban or another proposed ordinance: to require collectives remain at least 1,000 feet away from schools and homes.

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. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

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