(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Just as a new statewide survey finds widespread support for legalizing marijuana, San Jose officials are talking about taking steps that would likely shut down most of the city’s 80 medical cannabis outlets.

As the San Jose Mercury News explains, the action is made possible by a state Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana regulation earlier this year. The paper quotes Mayor Chuck Reed as a strong supporter of new limits:

“We can’t just have a laissez-faire regulation system,” said Reed, who suggested that the city get “mean” with problem pot shops.

Here’s a summary from the East Bay Express of a staff proposal the City Council will consider later today:

    • Prohibit dispensaries within 1,000 feet of public and private schools, child daycare centers, churches with child daycare centers, community/recreation centers, parks, libraries and other Medical Marijuana establishments
    • Prohibit them within 500 feet from substance abuse rehabilitation centers;
    • Prohibit them within 150 feet from residential uses;

And then either:

  • Return within 90 days with a complete Medical Marijuana regulatory program; or
  • Return in 30 days with a ban prohibiting the operation of Medical Marijuana establishments in San Jose.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News gives the background:

San Jose has not approved zoning for medical marijuana shops, making them technically illegal and subject to closure under city code enforcement. But there are no city laws specifically banning or regulating them. And San Jose voters in 2010 overwhelmingly approved a 10 percent tax on marijuana businesses, pumping $5.4 million a year into a $1 billion city general fund that has struggled with chronic shortfalls. City officials have limited enforcement action against marijuana stores to those that have generated complaints, are located near schools or failed to pay the city tax.

In pushing for the new law, city officials cite concerns from neighborhood and law enforcement groups, and a survey that found nearly half of Lincoln High School students got their marijuana from nearby collectives. …

… The City Council — half of which is running for mayor in June — not only has to deal with the perennial hot-potato issue before them, but whether the law they pass would be upheld by voters.

Medical cannabis attorney James Anthony took one look at the proposed map the city published showing the few places where dispensaries could operate and said: “That’s absurd; that’s not going to work.”

Rather than causing problems, Anthony said the pot shops have installed increased security systems, raised tax money, provided jobs and supplied local patients with convenient access to their “medicine.” He predicted a repeat of the referendum drive he led when San Jose officials tried enacting similar regulations in September 2011.

  • SukhberS

    There will be “chronic shortfalls” if you just start shutting down these shops.

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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