Santa Clara County Pot Club Ban Takes Effect Next Month

An ordinance banning medical marijuana collectives from unincorporated Santa Clara County goes into effect Sept. 25. The county's new rules, voted on Aug. 5, come up for a final reading at the Board of Supervisors meeting next week.

Fearing that pot clubs run out of town by the city of San Jose’s new regulations would set up shop in county jurisdiction, supervisors enacted a moratorium in June. Even though no collectives operate in unincorporated parts of the region, county zoning regulations had allowed them to request permits to open.

“The board weighed a variety of complex factors, including pending state legislation, lack of recognition of the legality of medical marijuana by the federal government, San Jose’s new restrictions and the need for access to medical marijuana for compassionate use,” Supervisor Mike Wasserman said earlier this month.

Supervisor Dave Cortese said the county could always revisit its ordinance down the line.

At last count, San Jose is home to 78 pot clubs. Sixty-five are located in illegal zoning, under new city rules, and have to close or relocate.

“We think under San Jose’s new regulations, a sufficient number of dispensaries will remain in business …,” Deputy County Executive Sylvia Gallegos said. “If the number of dispensaries falls below 10, the county will re-evaluate the situation.”

Meanwhile, as part of the new ordinance, the city is devising a $20,500 public education campaign to warn kids about the risks of smoking pot.

More from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for Aug. 26, 2014:

  • Cortese says the county should slash water use by 25 percent. Private residents and businesses have been urged to cut water consumption in face of the dogged drought, with bans restricting things like hosing off sidewalks, washing cars without a shutoff nozzle and running fountains that don’t re-circulate water. “Governments need to also step up efforts to conserve and lead by example,” Cortese wrote.
  • More than 460,000 county residents have some type of criminal conviction to their name. The Records Clearance Project, a San Jose State University program, aims to expunge some of those records. Supervisors will consider offering the program a $33,500 grant. No one else in the county offers rap sheet reviews for Elmwood inmates, according to a county report. And no other program offers mentoring for people awaiting expungement.
  • The county makes $400,000 in revenue from the Fantasy of Lights, an annual mile-and-a-half drive-through holiday lights event in Los Gatos.
  • To prevent workers from getting cheated by their employers, the county wants to pass a wage-theft ordinance. The rules would basically reinforce existing federal, state and local laws—companies that haven’t fully paid their workers won’t be considered for county contracts.
  • A youth-led community center called "The Hub" is undergoing some improvements. If the county can work out a deal with the lessor, it may spend $378,000 to install showers.
  • Up to 750 inmates are released every month from county jails and another 69 from state prisons to the region. Under new federal healthcare laws, they need to sign up for health insurance. The county wants to continue a program that enrolls them in Medi-Cal, which saves the county money by setting it up to secure federal reimbursement.
  • The county may have to tap into its reserves to drum up enough money for cold-weather homeless shelters this winter. Right now, it has $425,000 available for cold-weather shelters—$200,000 less than last year.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Clerk of the Board, 408.299.5001


  1. This will only increase the number of “illegal ” grow houses . people have and will continue to purchase their medicine by any means necessary . Absolutely idiotic that Neither San Jose or The County can come up with a way to regulate and over see a process for legalized cannabis . Colorado made $19 Million Dollars in the month of March alone , think about it

  2. “If the county can work out a deal with the lessor, it may spend $378,000 to install showers.” How many showers can the county build for $378,000? Probably about 50.

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