San Jose Approves the Sale of Recreational Cannabis for 2018

San Jose’s 16 licensed pot shops can sell non-medicinal cannabis to anyone over the age of 21 starting in the New Year. The decision came Tuesday by a unanimous vote of the City Council, which decided to honor the will of the voters who approved statewide legalization for adult-use in 2016.

The ruling doesn’t change zoning regulations, which require collectives to stay a certain distance away from churches, schools and other so-called “sensitive uses.” Nor does it allow any more pot shops to open.

Cannabis lobbyist Sean Kali-Rai, founder of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance, applauded the council decision, noting that every single district in San Jose voted in favor of Prop. 64, the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational use. He gave a special shout-out to District 6, the council ward that encompasses Willow Glen, which had the highest Prop. 64 approval rate in the city, with 65 percent of voters giving the green light to recreational pot.

Prop. 64 gave local governments the option of permitting or banning cannabis. All of Santa Clara County said yes to legalization in 2016, although several cities enacted bans on non-medical use until local electeds figured out how to regulate the newly above-board pot sector.

The sign-off in San Jose this week allows the city’s licensed collectives to sell and deliver non-medical cannabis as long as they obtain a state license. The licensees will require additional fees and inspections, including equipping delivery vehicles with geolocation devices and cameras.

San Jose became one of the first major cities in the U.S. to authorize medical pot sales a few years back, with a local policy that came with strict limitations and imposed a 10 percent local sales tax.

In 2014, San Jose slashed the number of weed shops from upward of 120 to no more than 16. It also imposed stringent operating rules on who could work at the licensed dispensaries and a requirement that the licensees submit to scrupulous police oversight.

A few people spoke against the ordinance, including Kevin Kittlia, a self-described born-again Christian who said he opposes legalization because he’s seen people’s “lives destroyed by this.”

“I ask you,” he implored the council, “please, please, please do away with the marijuana dispensaries, just because this hurts people.”

Councilman Johnny Khamis and San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said they worry about kids getting their hands on marijuana if the city permitted recreational sales. Garcia also expressed concern about how to deal with people driving while high. But he conceded that regulating pot use is better than policing it in the black market.

Councilman Lan Diep, who penned a memo riddled with marijuana puns in almost every other line, suggested San Jose could model commercial pot laws for other cities.

“Our policy should not be a blunt instrument, but rather a high-quality model for other cities to clone,” he wrote. “Through smart regulations and taxes, we can weed out bad actors and get our general fund revenues high.”

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


  1. What is the qualitative difference between Medical Marijuana and recreational Marijuana to be sold by the collectives?

    • There won’t be any qualitative differences. Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana have every potential to be the same thing. The only difference is what you (or a doctor) choose to call your reason for using it. That being said marijuana is constantly being genetically engineered to be useful specific purposes. Marijuana that is used for medical purposes is more likely to be engineered to be effective as a treatment for a specific ailment, and to that end it may be more likely to have been engineered NOT to get you high. Marijuana that is used for recreational use may be more likely to have been engineered to get you more high or to feel a specific kind of high. These differences are not qualitative, although they could be subjectively considered so in certain cases.

      on a side note, having been well within the world of marijuana for a great portion of my life, I can tell you that most people (not all but most) people who use it for “medical” purposes are full of shit and are really just getting a card to avoid illegality in using it recreationally. Everyone knows this but for valid and obvious reasons no one wanted to admit it. Now that its legal recreationally, you will see many of those people suddenly stop bullshitting and just smoke it. Personally having attempted to use it medically for cancer treatment symptoms, it didn’t really help. I know it does legitimately help a lot of people for a lot of things but i definitely know for an absolute fact that the medical marijuana movement is over 90 percent simply a disguised recreational movement and it always has been.

      Thank goodness for the sanity of legality after almost a century of the insanity of prohibition.

      • Wait, you mean some people who used medical marijuana didn’t have medical problems, I am totally gobsmacked over that revelation. You sir should alert the media.

        • The medical cannabis measure was written & passed by the voters in 1996,it was pretty vague as to who would qualify as a “patient”. As an initiative the legislators weren’t allowed to make any changes to it & it could only be modified by another initiative. This is what happens when our legislators refuse to do their jobs,leaving the people with no other alternative than to craft a law of their own through the initiative process. CBS News broadcast a story showing that a woman was able to obtain a doctor’s recommendation for cannabis because her feet hurt after wearing high heels at work all day. So what ? A lot of people voiced their objections,but nobody ever did anything about it. Now it’s a moot point,it’s going to be completely legal to buy,sell,grow,transport & use in January. If you don’t like it,that’s just too bad !!!

          • Herb Waxman= HAHAHA now I get it… Ya the neighbor kids were telling me about how they love to vape some wax as its the highest most potent level of THC! Bravo.

  2. I’m wondering how heavy the sales will be on Jan 1. (if we even get our paperwork together by then) There’s sort of a catch22 here, we need state paperwork to do this, but the state still hasn’t finalized their own regulations yet. We were promised Mid to end November, so we’ll have to wait and see.

  3. and thus civilization continues to crumble ~ Whereas Gov’t once curtailed various vices to maintain standards of public/community decency – they now legalize it to tax/offset the ruinous costs of political/gov’t mismanagement. Gambling – (how is all that lottery money doing w/ help for improving schools LOL) – now pot – how will this affect DUI’s and more victims – doesn’t matter our leaders just want more $$. – they could have just decriminalized pot which would have made it a ho-hum deal – but by legalizing they get to step in, hand out – for big tax $.
    soon other “victimless” crude activities will be legalized. Lots of empty store fronts downtown? turn them into whorehouses – -think of the all tax revenue Sam!!!
    Now that more vices are “legalized” it is easier for young people to argue – “but Mom, it’s OK, it’s legal.”

    meanwhile our society continues to degrade – trash in pot holed streets, bums crapping on public property and more and more people showing up for their dream of the Golden State — Quick build another 25,000 houses – – never mind where the water will come from – Govt will come up with a new tax to pay for it.

    • “Trust me” anyone who really wanted to use marijuana is already using it now. Medicinal marijuana has been readily available to anyone who asked for a doctor’s recommendation & it always been easier for teenagers to buy pot than alcohol. If you’re expecting a sudden increase in drug crazed zombies roaming our streets or a dramatic uptick in DUI arrests,you’re going to be greatly disappointed. People have been enjoying the myriad effects of marijuana here for decades,It’s only the clueless ones like you who had no idea how many of your friends & neighbors are partaking regularly. Alcohol does far more damage to people’s lives & our society than a handful of miscreants who can’t handle their high. Try bringing back Prohibition & see how much support you can muster for taking alcohol away from law-abiding citizens. If you see litter in our streets try picking it up instead of complaining about it or try banging two pie tins together to frighten off those defecating in our parks. Those who abhor marijuana & it’s millions of aficionados are no better than or possess any more decency than those who choose to use it. As far as prostitution goes it’s legalization & regulation would certainly cut down on the number of beaten,victimized & trafficked women & minors,pimps,sexually transmitted diseases & sexual assaults already so prevalent in our community. There is an obvious need for the sexual gratification of unattractive or desperate men (not everyone is as good looking as me) & legalized prostitution would give them one more activity to consider while boycotting NFL games,masturbating,drinking or getting high ! Always use a condom,accidents cause people !!!

  4. Having spoken to Sessions on this subject, I am advised that after we close the border with a wall, electronic devices and drones with 10,000 new Border agents and the forced cooperation with the Mexican President we will start in Southern California and move North arresting and incarcerating sellers. The question I asked is if City Fathers can be prosecuted for issuing licenses to sell and distribute drugs. Answer was yes from city councilmen to Brown himself for signing legislation for Violating federal Law. So enjoy yourself for now, we are coming!

    Dope out Idiots
    Jack slade

    • You didn’t speak to Sessions,those were the voices in your head again ! Who knows maybe some cannabis would help with your mental health problems & anger management issues. The Feds don’t have the backbone or resources to intercede at this point & you’re as powerless as your opinion is respected,not one iota. You’re full of it & the only one likely to be arrested is you,if you stagger outside after drinking your breakfast & a swallowing a handful of Vicodin. No one with an IQ above room temperature would believe any of these preposterous assertions you’ve made & it makes you look even more ignorant than usual. A more likely scenario is tens of thousands of cannabis consumers in the South Bay,starting in Santa Cruz & driving you toward Alviso until your hat floats. If you are coming make yourself useful & bring some Doritos & Buffalo Wings,we’ve already got the munchies ! We’d sure love to see you !

  5. I encourage all involved to do your own research outside of mainstream media channels. . Marijuana isn’t really either ‘medical’ or ‘ non-medical ‘.. It is those extremes, but also everything in between. Is ice cream either chocolate or vanilla ? No. Hybrids of THC free plants crossed with THC varietals yield produce that have powerful anti-cancer effects, anti-insomnia, chronic pain reflief, the list goes on. The pharmaceutical companies are terrified of this, because they don’t get any $$$ (not yet, they’re trying). Also be aware that these dispensaries sell SEEDS and SEEDLINGS for the home gardener. You don’t have to spend much to explore the green realm. Educate yourselves, that is the key here.

    • I was reading your comment and found myself quite confused by your statements. You had no problem telling others to educate themselves, yet your statements said that you had not taken the time to check your facts. You state that the only reason that marijuana has any medical qualities is because of the crossbreeding and manipulation of the plants. Tell me what alterations they were doing t!!

  6. My biggest concern about marijuana is that it might impair users’ ability to decipher reality to the same degree as does attending college or consuming the daily news.

    • The reality is that a large number of cannabis consumers have college degrees & stay abreast of current events,not that it should concern your pinhead. A lack of higher education & total ignorance of what’s transpiring daily in the world around you,has never hampered you from sharing your fallacious & spurious opinions here. If you’re ever able to conceive & articulate a cognizant thought,it will undoubtedly be the first time. In the meantime we’ll just await your next derisive & ludicrous insults to our collective intelligence & consider the impudence of the source. Whether or not you have the ability to decipher this droll missive is debatable,but the reason that you feel compelled to continuously embarrass yourself with your cretinous commentary is certainly beyond our comprehension. Why don’t you really concentrate & try harder,while we vaporize the concentrate & party harder ? Comprende ? Au contraire,mi amigo !!!

  7. So how does the tax thing work on these sales as the Feds still consider selling pot as illegal and banks won’t accept pot sale money? Media reports that almost all of the pot growers buried their profits underneath their homes and almost all lost their hidden assets during recent fire storms. So how does the state determine how much tax is due? Do they go to the homes of the pot growers and dig up the profits to determine necessary taxes? Do the pot growers launder their money by “investments” and then the state taxes this laundered money. Won’t even get into how cities figure out taxes from this activity as most city officials are financially challenged. Just wondering?

    • > So how does the tax thing work on these sales as the Feds still consider selling pot as illegal and banks won’t accept pot sale money?

      Excellent questions.

      To which I will add: San Jose’s official endorsement of marijuana consumption — both recreational and “medical” — seems to circumvent the governmental regulatory authority established to ensure the wholesomeness, healthfulness, safety, and efficacy of food and drug products intended for consumption by the public.

      San Jose is just asking for another Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster:

      • Q: What are the Feds going to do ?
        Congress has consistently cut off the funding for the Feds to arrest & prosecute those in compliance with state marijuana laws since 2014.
        In the Federal Courts – US District Court Judges have ruled in favor of many of those being prosecuted & dismissed all of the charges in many cases.
        Federal prosecutors have been unable to persuade juries to convict most of those who’ve been arrested in several judicial districts,wasting time & resources better spent elsewhere.
        The Feds lack the manpower,resources,courtrooms & prisons to arrest,prosecute & convict millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans,even if they wanted to do so now.
        The Feds are on their own as state & local authorities have decided to submit to the will of their voters (who’ve voted to defy federal law) & won’t assist the Feds in arresting their residents.
        The Feds can see that the “sky is falling” hysteria of anti-marijuana crusaders & the ensuing disaster they’ve predicted has failed to materialize in the states where it’s sale & use is legal.
        The Feds can see that recent polling now shows nearly 70% of Americans favor completely legalizing marijuana nationwide & that there is little support for any sort of crackdown now.
        A: Apparently at this point not too much !

        • > Q: What are the Feds going to do ?

          Well, if 30 people die or get paralyzed from toxic pesticide laced marijuana, you can bet your sweet bippy that vicious, ugly, mean spirited trial lawyers are going to do a LOT to a LOT of people, especially those with deep pockets.

          Local governments are sitting ducks for vicious, ugly, mean spirited trial lawyers. They are scared to death of bad publicity and are eager to make problems go away with other people’s money.

          “Other people” being taxpayers.

          • Marijuana sold in state approved dispensaries must be lab-tested for pesticides,molds,insects,etc., & if it doesn’t pass muster the dispensaries can’t legally sell it. State law requires that these lab results are kept on file & subject to inspection by state regulators at any time. One of the benefits of the sale of legalized marijuana is it’s being tested,unlike black market marijuana which can be potentially contaminated. That being said I’ve never heard of any cases of large numbers of people being sickened by using marijuana,no matter where it was acquired. Keep in mind that under the new law you can only buy marijuana legally from a dispensary in compliance with state & local laws. However it will be legal to possess a legal amount of marijuana whether it was acquired legally,illegally or homegrown. Once in the hands of the consumer there is no way to determine it’s origin.
            The only worry for taxpayers is living in communities that bar dispensaries,thus sending customers & potential tax revenue to neighboring cities. Then they’ll return to their own cities to enjoy it legally,whether their elected leaders like it or not. The choice is clear – regulate the sales in your city & reap the tax dollars on those sales,or refuse to allow sales in your city (which doesn’t bar use) & lose a new source of tax revenue. Either way will have absolutely no effect on the number of people using marijuana in your community,other than the inconvenience of having to go elsewhere to buy it. How many people are willing to leave town to buy it legally when you can still buy it illegally in town like you’ve been doing all along ? Who knows for sure ? Still refusal to allow legal sales would seem to encourage residents to avoid travel & taxes by continuing to buy marijuana on the black market.

          • What are the Feds going to do? Better pay your taxes on that shit, Sam doesn’t like it when you put your thumb in his taxes. Just ask Al Capone.

  8. Huh, ok. Since you can’t use a bank card to make a transaction and you can’t deposit the money from cash sales in banks it would seem there is plenty of motive to bypass recording transactions and paying taxes. Not saying they would but just wondering how sales are recorded without bank records and where does the money go?
    Don’t think medical dispensary sales fall into the same category as recreational pot store sales.

  9. Wow. Some funny comments and ideations here about the legalization. Sorry to tell you but all you who are objected to this, but guess what? Your friends, colleagues, and even family members probably use cannabis, and you WOULD NEVER KNOW, because people like you feel it’s not Gov’s job to get involved in our economy or personal lives, but you would allow Gov to regulate morals and vices which also seem like personal, discretionary decision making? Seems contrary for those of you “quacks” that want less Gov intervention, whilst also crying out loud for the Gov to regulate when this morals or values don’t apply to what “YOU” do not approve of in OTHER people’s personal lives. STFU already or get the necessary signatures to change the law. That’s why CA is one of the few Inititiative-States, and the people of CA and San Jose have spoken. Your same colleagues, friends and families who decided, or NOTdecided by lack of vote, to allow medical and recreational cannabis. Less words more action.

  10. Voter initiative get overturned by the courts all the time, that why the courts are loaded with liberal judges and not Constitutionalists.

    • Empty Gun goes off half-cocked again ! Apparently it’s not the courts that are loaded,it’s you. Quit embarrassing yourself & try putting your thoughts into words while you’re still sober next time.

  11. Legal marijuana is taxed. Like anything the government taxes, eventually all legal marijuana will be over regulated and have its THC content (the component that causes the “high”) capped at a certain level, and the tax will only continue to rise. Legal marijuana will become more expensive and less potent than illegal marijuana which will be cheaper (because it’s not taxed) and more potent, since it’s unregulated, the THC content of illegal marijuana can be as high as the market demands or desires.

    Summary: Legal marijuana will become more expensive and less potent. Illegal marijuana will be less expensive and more potent. Since there’s no practical way to put a tax stamp on weed and since it all looks roughly the same (unlike moonshine and whiskey which are distinctly different colors), eventually illegal pot will take over the market and dispensaries will close or lobby politicians to pass laws allowing the THC content of legal marijuana to be increased to a “competitive” level. This, in turn, will result in illegal growers increasing the THC content of their product until eventually what you end up with is weed that will give you a buzz that will blow your brains out. Good.

    • J.S.Robillard – irrational anti-cannabis crusader or stark raving mad ? Pay attention moron,they’re already producing concentrates that are up to 90% THC & they can do it with cannabis with 5% THC. They’ve been producing beer with a 3.2 % ABV & 190 Proof 95% ABV Everclear forever too,is the correlation lost on you ? Mr. Wizard your reasoning is as laughable as it is idiotic. Legalization means – a) people won’t be arrested anymore for something most of them were already doing. b) people will be able to purchase an array of cannabis products that they weren’t able to make or acquire before. c) people can be assured that the cannabis they buy has been lab-tested for molds,pesticides,insects,etc. d) millions of otherwise law-abiding people won’t be labeled as criminals anymore. e) in exchange the state & local governments will regulate & tax it’s sale,resulting in millions of dollars of new revenue. Under the new law people will be allowed to grow a limited amount for their own consumption & others will continue to grow much more illicitly to feed the black market demand. After all if law enforcement didn’t have anybody to arrest for cannabis offenses anymore,they’d have to spend their time fighting real crimes against people & property. “Blow your brains out” ? Good grief,Charlie Brown ! Let me tell you Dorothy,you’re certainly not in Kansas anymore. Try tapping your ruby slippers together three times & if you still don’t know where you can go,I’d be more than happy to tell you ! (Hint – It’s HELL) Surprise !!!

  12. I never cease to be fascinated by the strong emotional desire some people have to impose their own fears and prejudices on other people’s behavior through the force of law. I’m glad I live in a country that allows these people to express their views, but I’m also thankful that I live in a country that then tells these same people: “thank you for your opinion, now go sit down.”

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