City Council Considers Hefty New Fines for Pot Clubs

San Jose could dramatically raise the fines for violating its new cannabis club regulations. The City Council on Tuesday will consider an escalating schedule of fees ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.

Currently, a violation costs just $25.

Come Oct. 17, the grace period for pot clubs to comes to a close. City officials want to make sure the enforcement program is robust enough to get people to comply.

“The proposed changes would support more effective enforcement of regulations applicable to medical marijuana establishments by setting forth reasonable fines that encourage compliance with the code,” San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel writes in a memo proposing the new fees.

Here’s the suggested fee schedule:

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The council adopted new pot club regulations over the summer that restricted dispensaries to about 1 percent of the city. Cannabis clubs were given a three-month grace period to relocate or shut down. Attempts to overturn the new regulations fell flat when pot club advocates failed to collect enough signatures for a referendum.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara County banned cannabis collectives from unincorporated parts of the region.

Earlier this summer, San Jose counted 78 pot clubs within city limits. Only a handful are expected to survive once enforcement rolls out next month.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for Sept. 30, 2014:

  • The Chinese government will pay for Deputy Director of Economic Development Kerry Adams Hapner to travel to China as part of a “cultural exchange” trip.
  • The Children’s Discovery Museum located downtown has raised $1 million to add 15,200 square feet of outdoor exhibits. The expansion will allow the museum to add programming that focuses on environmental education, water conservation and sustainable food production.
  • Developers are asking the council to annex more than 300 acres in south San Jose to pave the way for future development on Communications Hill.
  • The Audobon Society asked the city to require migratory bird studies for construction projects that would root up trees.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Reefer Madness, folks! The only reason why drugs invite and involve crime is because of the century-old ridiculous “war on drugs” that only worked to deny a basic human right, and incarcerate black and immigrant youth. Marijuana has been in use for medicinal qualities for about 8,000 years. Let’s face it: the war on drugs is unwinnable. We can grow our own pot, and distill our own liquor with relative ease. Losing battle! While we incarcerate more young men and women than Russia or China…

    • > The only reason why drugs invite and involve crime is because of the century-old ridiculous “war on drugs” that only worked to deny a basic human right,

      Saying that drugs are a “basic human right” is like saying poverty is a basic human right.

      Do you think there might be a connection between drug use and poverty? Duh!

      • Funny you should mention that, there has never been a society without drugs. So maybe your idea of drugs being a basic human right just very well may be true.

  2. Treat dispenceries like any other business: reasonable hours, no loitering or noise, clean and safe property, a member of the community…

  3. Poverty is an economic condition, that yes, can be exacerbated by addiction. Too many minorities and inner city kids are being jailed for selling pot to willing buyers. Property is being seized in the war on drugs. One could say the war on drugs is more the source of poverty in many areas, not the drugs themselves. I know many successful people who would rather smoke a joint to relax or relieve pain than drink alcohol or take prescription drugs. Unlike some other drugs, marijuana is a weed and can grow just about anywhere, and does not have to be chemically processed. Why are people so afraid of it? To be fair, lets’ close the liquor stores in residential neighborhoods, too!

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