City of San Jose Medical Marijuana Regulation Act of 2014 (November 2014)
|Voting on Marijuana|
|Not on ballot|
If approved, this measure would legalize marijuana collectives in San Jose, at which patients who have medical marijuana prescriptions from a doctor may gather to "form medical cannabis collectives for the purpose of acquiring or cultivating and manufacturing medical cannabis solely for the personal medical use of the members who are qualified patients." It would also regulate the industry and provide restrictions to location and operation, such as a 1,000 foot minimum distance from any school.
The measure would also set up a minimum of 50 pot clubs and seeks to form a cannabis commission comparable to the commission boards the city has for libraries, parks, land use and transportation.
Dave Hodges, one of the dispensary owners behind the petition and the owner of All-American Cannabis Club, wrote the following in a letter that accompanied the petition: “A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is a[s] follows: By regulating medical cannabis dispensaries, the city of San Jose will ensure adequate access while protecting public safety. This act will control the proliferation of dispensaries, ensure dispensaries are safe distances from schools and require dispensaries to obey strict operational standards. Also, this act will improve the local economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the city of San Jose.”
Path to the ballot
Angelique Gaeta, assistant to the city manager, said that San Jose city council is pushing for its own restrictive ordinance because of a recent pattern of public school students being suspended for marijuana use, often in part because of a misunderstanding about the legality of the drug. Gaeta even expressed that some parents were ignoring pot use by their kids or even providing it to them through a doctor's prescription, thinking the drug was legal. City spokesman David Vossbrink stated that the city's nearly 80 dispensaries feature many that do not comply with state or city law. These issues along with other complaints from residents provided the impetus for the city to begin drafting their regulation ordinance, which, in turn, triggered dispensary supporters to begin the petition drive for the "Medical Marijuana Regulation Act".
The city's proposal
The petition drive for the "Medical Marijuana Regulation Act" is in response to the city's efforts to pass a much more restrictive regulatory ordinance. This ordinance would require that dispensaries remain a minimum of 1,000 feet from schools, churches, public libraries and parks. Marijuana collectives would also be required to remain at least 150 feet from residential areas. Hodges claims that the strict city ordinance would shut down nearly all city dispensaries, leaving only a small number of parcels in the industrial areas of San Jose available for dispensaries to operate. Hodges said, "The city is trying to close all clubs and start afresh and operate five."
The petitioners for the less restrictive "Medical Marijuana Regulation Act" filed their ballot measure with the city clerk and is waiting on the city attorney for an official ballot title and summary. Once these are issued, the group behind the petition will according to Hodges, find funding to hire a professional signature collection company to gather the approximately 20,000 signatures required by a deadline in mid-May of 2014.
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