Cannabis advocates are biting back against lawmakers in San Jose. Controversy has plagued the operation and spread of dispensaries in the city, and now a contested ordinance is hitting the ballot thanks to the work of medical cannabis supporters.
Last fall, the council ignored the planning commission’s suggestion to limit dispensaries to 25, voting instead for a limit of 10 and a requirement that the marijuana be grown on the collective’s premises. A petition drive to void the council vote ensued, collecting the signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.
The city council sought advice from staff members, wanting to put together a plan of action towards the treatment of dispensaries within city limits. The council intends to look into raising taxes on dispensaries and promoting less off-site cultivation, citing a lack of jurisdiction over cultivation sites in Medocino County.
Arguments were heard at a council meeting from such high profile advocates as Gina Gates, the lead researcher at Project Cannabis, who believes that the dispensaries in San Jose, now estimated at just over 100, are a lot less dangerous than the 1,400 stores that sell alcohol. Gates would like the legislature to base their ordinances off research.
In this situation, there’s really no need for city intervention as long as it’s seen to it that the dispensaries are operating as under Proposition 215. State law dictates exactly how dispensaries are supposed to be run, and trying to cut in and restrict safe access winds up pushing more legal sales out into the streets. Hopefully, with this ordinance on the ballot, advocates in San Jose can ensure that patient access remains a priority in the Bay.