San Jose Debates Dispensary Rules

Officials in San Jose, California, will debate marijuana dispensary regulations tonight, including a proposed citywide ban.

California’s third-largest city does not currently have a regulatory system for marijuana businesses; however, medical marijuana operations there do pay a 10% sales tax, which brings $5.4 million a year into the city’s general fund.

Many cities in California have enacted bans on such businesses, while others have started to introduce strict regulations in the absence of statewide rules.

A lot is at stake in San Jose. It has become a major center for marijuana businesses after many cities in Silicon Valley voted to ban the industry outright. Currently there are an estimated 80 marijuana businesses in San Jose, and many operate near the center of town.

New regulations would likely force some of them to close but would bring more stability to the market, and a completely ban would destroy the MMJ industry in San Jose.

A recent memo by San Jose’s assistant city manager directed the city council to either take 90 days to formulate a regulatory program or instead ban medical cannabis dispensaries within 30 days. Mayor Chuck Reed said does not believe there is enough support for an all-out ban on dispensaries. But he said he hopes the city gets “mean” with the shops.

“We can’t just have a laissez-faire regulation system,” Reed told The San Jose Mercury News.

The memo includes regulatory recommendations that are similar to other cities with MMJ rules: dispensaries would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, rec centers, libraries and other marijuana vendors; and they would not be allowed within 500 feet of rehabilitation centers or 150 feet from residential properties. The rules would effectively limit dispensaries to either north or south San Jose.

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