Zoning Out Medical Marijuana Clinics

Medical marijuana clinics are having a big summer in downtown San Jose, as patients in oversized jean shorts and nightgown T-shirts can be found burning on the sidewalk almost any afternoon. Complaints of people lighting up on city streets are numerous—ask downtown’s Councilmember Sam Liccardo as well as police—but medicating in public isn’t illegal as long as smokers carry a doctor-prescribed card and stay clear of public transportation hubs.

With the council in recess until August and the planning commission’s new ordinances still pending, the city’s efforts to regulate the use and sale of medical marijuana remain hollow. With four dispensaries in the neighborhood, Fountain Alley has become a hangout for pot smokers as local businesses complain to cops, who can only shrug and turn to a City Council that has stalled for two years running.

And after letting the number of collectives mushroom to more than 100, there is now an indicator that arbitrarily capping collectives at 10 instead of legislating zoning restrictions and other guidelines—over the strenuous objections of Councilmembers Pierluigi Oliverio, Ash Kalra and Donald Rocha—may prove to have been a rash decision.

A report by the Gilroy Dispatch says that city spent more than $200,000 on legal bills to prevent just one collective from operating in town. That number should have San Jose’s city attorney, Rich Doyle, thinking about the quantity of pot shops that have threatened to sue San Jose if they aren’t included in the Top 10.

If Gilroy is any example of the headaches that lie ahead, the time and money needed to fight all those lawsuits will be a strain on the city’s already impacted staff and budget.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Rash decision by city hall….you’re joking???  I can’t wait until downtown reverts to what is was like in the 70’s-80’s….prostitution….check…..drug dealing….check……increased violent crime….check…..Who’s gonna clean it up?  Not SJPD, especially when the city manager is to planning to fire (layoff) 100+ more cops by next summer…Maybe the Feds can send the city two IRS agents to take care of downtown

  2. Previous post sounds like a bitter cop who got laid off. City needs to continue laying off an excessive amount of SJPD, who’s been so desperate that they are now randomly stopping people for absolutely nothing. They try to invoke public fear by going on the media by threatening “the city will be taken over by violent gangs” etc. . .Yet SJPD’s employment rate is way above the state and national average. With limited resources, focus should be on job creation, building local wealth, NOT lawsuits on state approved medical marijuana clinics.

    • “Yet SJPD’s employment rate is way above the state and national average”. You need to do a little better research or stop lighting up while writing. The national average for a large city is close to 2.0 officers per thousand citizens ( San Frncisco PD has 2.2 officers – with aooox. 50 sq miles to cover vs. 150 sq for San Jose).  SJPD has historically been under staffed, never reaching more than 1.4 per thousand (2008).  SJPD is now at appox. 1.1 officers per thousand ( appox. because 3-6 officers have been leaving each month).

  3. Sounds like an honest cop. Tell you what Taylor you let me know I ll take you downtown and point out all the crack dealers for you and the gang members.  Cops are bitter because they are career employees who see they city being sold out for greed.  Do you think San Jose cannot become a waste land. Take a trip to Detroit once 3 million now a million?  Do you not see the irony in the council approving pot clubs for profit that may end up costing the city more to service than they take in.  I ll be honest I think law enforcement is wasted on marijuana. A simple marijuana citation takes several hours to process by the time it gets thru the courts. Anyone can get a card for 80 dollars so it’s really legal already the sky has not fallen. The reason it lost by the voters is the pro marijuana people pulled out months before the election when they realized they would be out of their huge business. If everyone could plant a few pot plants in their back yard it would be worthless.
      I am guessing you never saw San Jose when it was full of hookers heroin addicts dealers parolees and gangs.  Not so long ago it was common to get several call for pcp or some guy who was almost dead in a public restroom of a restaurant.
        Will you take the wife and kids downtown if you are eating and in the middle of your nice dinner cops, fire and ambulance show up to start working on some guy who is dead or dying from heroin?  Do think someone who wants drugs will not grab a purse, break into a car or rob you at the ATM.
        Worse is if the mayor and council do not stop strong arm robbing businesses that come to San Jose they will move out. Right now the group in office is as greedy as a wall street banker with a cocaine habit.
        There was a lot of hard work done to change behavior and clean up the downtown. The liqour store is gone on Clara, Safeway was asked to stop selling single 40’s. 
        The laid odd cops are not saying a word why because they are keeping quiet hopping to find a job at another agency. If Reed gets what he wants every cop in San Jose will take their post certificate and find a city with a better pay package.  It cost money to hire and train cops. It’s a specialized job and a well trained professional police officer is a huge value to the city.  A few bad cops can cost a city lots of money. Well run city’s love their police. Mayors like to go to meetings say he will take care of the problem and have a department that will solve problems and produce results.
          There are agencies who pay very little and we read about the problems. Stop buying the sales pitch and ask yourself do you want a great police department like you had that kept the city as one of the safest in the land.  Keep in mind they did so with fewer officers than any other large city and were far from the highest paid agency.  The reality is the citizens of San Jose enjoyed a safe city at fire sale prices.  No doubt times have changed and while wall street was cooking the books salaries rose as well as pensions. Everyone thought it was real money. Adjustments have to be made but in a fair manor with integrity.  Not this way the mayor is capitalizing on a bad situation to fund a ball park for his own profit. 
          It time we stop this or the same greed that almost ruined this country will continue. It’s time to wake up. Look at what wall street is doing to the states UC college system. Di fi and her husband are stealing millions each year in bull shit loans for private schools while making college less afforable. Using tax money to bust stock prices.  Do not think they will stop unless we make them

  4. “but medicating in public isn’t illegal as long as smokers carry a doctor-prescribed card and stay clear of public transportation hubs.”

    “Medicating”?  That’s Orwell lol funny stuff to be sure.

    You aren’t allowed to “medicate” near a public transportation hub?
    What the hell does that mean? 
    Are public transportation hubs sacred ground?

    • The hubs are off grounds because that’s where are the crack heads and other dealers get off light rail to deal in downtown before they go back home. Same for the idiots who cause all the problems at the night clubs, and people wonder why no one what’s to come downtown after dark.  Forget about nice restaurants and shows, not worth the hassle to get my car broken in at a over priced parking lot.

      Our council just does not get it!  Thank you councilman PO and most other jokesters on Mayor Cuckoos council.

      • Dang fools, that’s what I was trying to relate in my previous post, yo, before I was distracted and started free-formin’  much love for the situation in the D-T!

        Wait, what was I sayin?  Oh yea’s one of the other reasons for having the pharmacologists so close to the platform is dat I get scared, paranoid even sometimes when I’ll be kickin it d-t. All those crack heads and straghtup hoods from the 5-1-0 be down there peddlin!  I gott to get inhaling my medicinal herbs and spice so I can cope. Now you’re sayin It’s an illegality to smoke my meds on the transport hub platform? What are you trying to do? You got me freakin out now looking over my shoulder for the 5-0! I need my stuff – if I dont have it then light rail is useless to me!

        Give me medicine or take away my VTA PASS!

    • I still don’t get it.

      Why would the clinically ill, who need to medicate in order to alleviate their suffering, be forbidden from doing so near transportation hubs?

      We all know that lightrail is dreadfully slow.  And to deny the clinically ill the ability to medicate before an epic lightrail journey is just not right.

      Pier, Dave Hodges, can you help us out here?

  5. Dude! I’m sooooooooo wasted!I love San Jose! Puff -Puff-Give Mutha-CENSORED! DTSJ is off the hook wit da Chron-ic! Man I want to meet this guy Chuck Reed! He looks like an old square in his photos but dang he knows wha’SUP!  and ma’boy Pierluigi Ol-I-Ver-I-OOOOOH No? I say hell yaaaaaaah! 4-20 K-2tha-U-2da-S-2yuh-aaaayayCH! What is up!

    Thats right ya’all. Man, downtown used to be all depressing and shit Now? its like AMSTERDAM yo! and all because of my peeps on that City Council. I can bake my braimmatter then drain my jizzlematter if ya’kno wat i’m talkinn about! And Layin of those cops? Brilliance! i be jocken the biccccchez and smacken the ho’s and don’t even have to worry about them killin ma’buzzzzzz! 

    Holla ata play-ah when ya sees me onda street!

    I’ma think about remaking Malibu’s Most Wanted and call it Almaden’s Ice Cold!

  6. Fly:

    It is not legal to “medicate” in public.  Not in your car, not at your work, not on a train, not on a plane- you can not do it Sam I Am.

    It is only legal (California law) in your own home.  And… it’s still a violation of Federal law even at that.

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