Medical Pot Community Has Advice for SJ - NBC Bay Area

Medical Pot Community Has Advice for SJ



    Pot Clubs Consider Unionization

    Area medical marijuana centers may soon get organized. (Published Monday, April 11, 2011)

    A day before San Jose city leaders are scheduled to meet to talk about how to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, a group of medical cannabis advocates announced the formation of a new coalition.

    The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition was formed to help shape the permitting process for medical marijuana dispensaries in San Jose.

    The group is made up of representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5, former law enforcement officers, medical marijuana patients and more.

    "Right now everybody’s assuming we’re a bunch of drug dealers and addicts and that’s not the case," said John Williams, of Fruit of the Spirit and a member of the coalition. "The union gives us legitimacy. We just want to take care of our families and give back to our communities and help."

    Unions for medical marijuana dispensary workers, patients and advocates is nothing new. The model has been used in Oakland and in Los Angeles.

    Monday's announcement comes just a day before San Jose officials are meeting to discuss how to control the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

    There are more than 100 MCDs currently operating in the South Bay city and some San Jose officials want to cut that number down.

    The group says it will offer its advice and expertise as city officials try to draft policy to regulate the dispensaries.

    San Jose has said it wants to limit the number of dispensaries that operate to around 10. Mayor Chuck Reed was famously quoted as proposing a solution that involved the city charging an application fee and auctioning off the permits on eBay.

    That is a proposal the coalition opposes.

    “A lottery does nothing to stop derelicts and deviants from taking the helm of what can and should be a responsible and dignified medical cannabis industry, Dave Hodges, the founder of the All American Cannabis Club, said in a statement.

    Tuesday's meeting will discuss a variety of proposals.