Medical marijuana dispensary owners are vowing to fight back after Tuesday night’s decision by the San Jose City Council to regulate pot clubs much more tightly than before.
The South Bay clubs claim to be making a lot of money and generating tax revenue for the city. But are they operating illegally? The city says yes. The clubs say they're providing a service.
It’s become a sticky situation for dispensary owners after the City Council voted 7-3 to approve new regulations that would force many clubs to move to industrial areas, not to mention cut back on hours of operation, and grow all their marijuana nearby.
"I think, overall, it's a very burdensome regulatory system that nobody will be able to operate under,” the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition’s Dave Hodges said.
City officials say that “all” medical marijuana facilities operating in San Jose are currently illegal, but they have heretofore been able to operate because of cuts in law enforcement.
The clubs themselves counter that they haven't harmed anyone and have actually become a steady source of revenue for the city.
"It's completely arbitrary that they should close this down, considering the taxes they're getting from collectives,” said Xak Puckett, director of the Amsterdam's Garden dispensary and vice president of the California Medical Marijuana Association. “We're all pitching in here for the community.”
The new regulations could begin as early as July.
The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition said it would like to take the issue to the voters, but admits it will be hard to get an initiative on the ballot before next year.