Rocha, Oliverio, Propose Alternative Medical Marijuana Plan

The City Council votes this afternoon on the mayor’s proposal to drastically limit the city’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, auction licenses via eBay or randon lottery, and require onsite cultivation. At the same time, the council will be asked to consider a more conservative plan being put forward by Councilmembers Donald Rocha and Pierluigi Oliverio.

Rocha’s and Oliverio’s plan would defer action on the more radical aspects of the mayor’s plan, and instead set up specific regulations regarding who can operate a dispensary and where they can do so. The number of medical cannabis dispensaries, limited to 10 in the mayor’s plan, would be determined at a later date. The onsite cultivation requirement—unique in the state—would also be stripped out of the law, as would the auction/lottery idea.

The plan is described in a memo Rocha and Oliverio circulated to their colleagues last week:

TO: Mayor and City Council
SUBJECT: Item 3.3
FROM: Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio & Councilmember Donald Rocha
DATE: April 8, 2011

In order to ensure public safety and reduce the proliferation of medicinal marijuana collectives in the City of San Jose it is imperative that the Council take action.

It is our suggestion that the cap and lottery decision be addressed when staff and the Council have a clear understanding of the amount of eligible and conforming collectives once the regulations and requirements are implemented as proposed.

Our concern is that a lottery system may award collectives to applicants that may not be the most well run facility, whereas the proposed regulations and application process may provide for a clearer picture of those collectives that are committed to a safe establishment. Therefore, we recommend that the Mayor and Council adopt the following direction:

Approval of the staff direction for items A through E (Item E as recommended in the supplemental memorandum) with additional modifications as follows:

•  Establish the distance for the location of a collective at 600 feet as stated in AB2650, with the additional restriction of 600 feet from other sensitive uses as defined in the staff report.

•  Further, staff is directed to continue to aggressively close any collective that is within 500 feet of residential, per Council direction June 2010

•  Deferral of action on the lottery and the maximum collective limit of 10

•  Defer action on any requirement for on-site cultivation

• Any applicant, collective principal or owner with a felony conviction shall be ineligible to run a collective.

• Any collective member growing medical marijuana offsite for the collective must also pass a background check.

• For collectives with on-site cultivation 24 hour security shall be required

• Prohibit on-site consumption of any medicinal marijuana products

It is further directed that a 30-day submittal period ending on July 1,2011 be established to accept applications for the operation and establishment of a Medicinal Marijuana Collective.

After the aforementioned date, no additional applications will be accepted and a moratorium on Medicinal Marijuana Collectives will be established pending future Council action.

Staff will also return to Council within 120 days with a report on the following:
1) Number of collectives that have submitted applications and have met all requirements
2) Policy language to address potential over-concentration
3) A map showing locations of eligible applications in order to identify the aforementioned potential
.areas of over-concentration
4) Policy language that limits the amount of collectives allowed, and a lottery process or ranking policy for further Council consideration
5) Integration of any new legal opinions or regulations from the Santa Clara County District Attorney and/or the California Attorney General into our local policies or regulations
6) Any collectives that have not filed an application as of July1,20II should be closed


  1. Who are best qualified to run Medicinal Marijuana Collectives ?

    Those who have opened illegal collectives or those who will follow the city and state regulations ke liquor stores to run a legal business that will be audited by city code enforcement and police department to make sure they follow the regulations and don’t use collective as a way to illegally sell marijuana by drug dealers

  2. I can’t believe the first statement of this memo which takes a clear moral stance on a business issue that nobody is discussing in an honest way. Why can’t we just be honest?

    These businesses have grown and outperformed during a “Green” Gold Rush while the rest of the state falls apart at the bottom line.

    Thanks though, for polluting the issue with doltish statements about the public’s safety. We elect these people, I can’t believe it. It’s a business community hiring people in this awful city at a rate that no other business can touch. Another silly witch hunt from morons with a moral pilgrimage. I’m shamed by the dishonesty of this entire quagmire.

    • If it can not be controlled they will manipulate it and wrap up in so much tape. That it might as well stay illegal.

      Dear Mr. Mayor,

                You want to have 10 collectives and have no clue at all whats really going on. Did you adviser help you with decision? I suggest you go sit next to a cancer patient who needs it so they are not suffering. Or why don’t you go visit to all the people that who will be out jobs you can not replace.
                I am still totally unclear why you would want to limit marijuana dispensaries. Kids and young adults walk into liquors stores all the time. The only rules that would apply during school hours is so people do not steal items. Young adults will get the alcohol one or another. At least in medical marijuana dispensaries you need to be 18 and have all your paperwork. This makes coming into a club very difficult.
                There is no use finishing this.

  3. I was at the city council meeting yesterday and from my point of view Councilmembers Rocha and Oliverio were the most level-headed, pragmatic members of the group.

    Their revisions propose to strip out the unworkable/ridiculous portions of the proposal, mainly:
    * instead of a lottery relying on total chance, let’s award licenses based on merit – insuring that the most professional, well-run dispensaries get the nod so as to provide the best, most compliant experience for medical cannabis patients;
    * remove the onsite cultivation requirement – this is ridiculous – like requiring liquor stores to distill all their alcohol onsite;
    * review the max. limit of 10 – I wonder if the public would back a limit of 10 liquor stores in all of San Jose – or 10 outlets selling cigarettes – very doubtful – yet alcohol and tobacco are MUCH more harmful and have no medicinal value.

    Let’s not kid ourselves – alcohol & tobacco are available all over San Jose, limiting medical cannabis dispensaries is not about public health or safety but largely about the stigma still attached to the whole notion of legal marijuana.

    I heard several references at the city council meeting concerning that the lottery is required because San Jose just does not have the manpower to review 110 applications – even after Councilmember Rocha correctly pointed out that the # of viable applicants will be far less when you eliminate any registrant who (I am paraphrasing here):
    * has a place of business situated in an improper zone (measure passed yesterday)
    * has any primaries with felonies
    * exists within 500 feet of residential neighborhoods
    * does not have a pre-existing business license
    * has not been charging sales tax
    * has not been collecting the city’s 7% tax
    * has not complied with other city ordinances that makes their establishment illegal

    The number of valid registrants will in all likelihood be 2 or 3 dozen – not 110.

    I support Councilmembers Rocha’s & Oliverio’s amendments in as much as: if something must be done, their approach seems to better insure that the remaining dispensaries will be best equipped to handle the medical cannabis needs of San Jose’s citizens while diminishing the negative impacts of a business with the ‘stigma’ that this one has may bring to neighborhoods and the city as whole.

    I also invite all who really care about this issue to attend city council meetings and let your voice be heard.

    • >I also invite all who really care about this issue to attend city council meetings and let your voice be heard.

      I would but I’m watching Jerome and his sister all day.  Not sure if the council would be cool with him running around like a bat out of hell with me as his shadow.

      Maybe I’ll send Don a text, see if he’d sit down with me sometime for some input.

  4. So any experienced grower who may have a felony for growing before 1996 is unqualified to grow for a collective? What if the felony is not drug related?

    It is clear the city council is clueless. I have an idea, why don’t we have the same regulations for liquor stores, nightclubs, sporting good stores, and car washes?

    Isn’t it enough that we impose strict limitations on what people can or cannot do after being convicted for a felony?

    It is legal to discriminate against felons in hiring decisions as well as the decision to rent housing to a person, so felons face barriers to finding both jobs and housing. Failure to maintain employment and housing can be parole violations and can therefore cause a convicted felon to be returned to prison.

    Who does this benefit?

    Let’s keep on after the small guy, because you know the 97% conviction rate in San Jose is surly an accurate indication of what is really going on; police state corruption.

    All this cash goes to the San Jose Police Union to be filtered back into Councilpersons political campaign’s. It is clear as day the influence the Union holds on the council, just listen to what they say.

    At the end of the day all this jibber-jabber about medical cannabis benefits 3 parties; the San Jose Police (they get new jobs and promise of new work closing down all these “illegal” shops and snooping threw peoples records, while they could be cracking down on meth dealers, prostitution, or corruption), the city council (which instead of using their time wisely to deal with real issues, pushing their own agenda that with out fail benefits their friends, and winning the Police Union’s contributions by insisting the public be bullied by criminals in uniforms.) Last but certainly not least the lawyers; who unless working pro bono, always get paid. 

    Santa Clara County police are still arresting legal cannabis users, with their paperwork, just to make them post bail, even if the convictions are dropped. Guess who this benefits? The Prison Guard Union!

    Anyone see a pattern forming here? These police state suit-dummies are totally disconected from reality. Can’t really blame ‘em though, the perc’s would get to my head as well.

    $90,000+ salary, health care for LIFE after one term, (for police and fire its 30 years), political favors, kick backs and campaign contributions from lobbyist, exempt registration and a free gas fill up card payed for by guess who? Us.

    Free health care, gas, registrations and politcal kickbacks!!! Shoot I want to be a city council member now! I have no health care, only a few part time jobs, and the only kick backs I get are in the form of coupons in my mailbox.

    Where do I sign up?

  5. Why the Feds don’t just legalize it once and for all is beyond me. How much money do we spend busting Pot? Millions or Billions every year? For What? Is there anyone who wants pot that can not get it? Then if you do get caught you get a ticket. How about you end the madness, legalize it, tax it and make some money off it. What a shift in funds. You save the enforcement costs and make money on the taxes.

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