San Jose took it's first steps to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday after a tense City Council meeting.
Council members voted unanimously to authorize the city to shut down dispensaries within 500 feet of schools, day care centers and homes. The move will immediately affect a handful of the city's 60 clubs, which will have to close within a month.
San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, a proponent of taxing medical cannabis, is happy with the vote. A solid supporter of medical marijuana, he believes in "limited number, limited places, regulated and taxed."
"A unanimous vote from the city council supported my memo which protects our neighborhoods by limiting where medical cannabis collectives can locate while still insuring compassionate use," Oliverio said in an emailed statement. "In addition, the council will consider taxing medical cannabis on Aug. 3 by placing a ballot measure for the Nov. 2010 election for San Jose residents to help cover our budget deficit."
Outside City Hall during the meeting, medi-pot patients and advocates rallied against a separate proposal that would place even further restrictions on dispensaries and patients. The emergency ordinance would limit the number of dispensaries in the city to 10, require them to pay nearly $100,000 before going into operation and open up patients' records to city oficials, among other rules. The council will take up that emergency ordinance later. The meeting Tuesday was just to decide on land use, Oliverio said.
Councilmembers agreed to return Aug. 3 to consider placing a measure on the November ballot to tax pot sales.