San Jose Considers New Rules for Marijuana Dispensaries

The San Jose City Council late Tuesday decided to delay voting on proposed new rules for marijuana facilities.

Council members held a public hearing over a proposed zoning ordinance and regulations for medical marijuana collectives in San Jose. The proposed rules include the following:

  • A 1,000-feet buffer zone from schools, daycare centers, libraries and community centers. Shops also can't be within 150 feet of any residences and must be within the city's commercial and industrial areas.
  • Prohibit minors from entering facilities and prevent medical marijuana from being sold to or diverted to minors.
  • Limiting operating hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No on-site marijuana usage.
  • Required on-site security and cameras at all facilities.
  • Marijuana dispensaries will have to grow their own product on-site.
  • No loitering in the parking lots and areas around medical marijuana facilities.

A survey conducted by the city showed 60 percent of residents said they wanted comprehensive regulation, according to a staff report.

There are currently more than 100 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Jose. The city is looking to cut down the number of pot clubs to 20.

"I prefer we see this activity happen in an industrial area without kids to ensure people have a legitimate need for them can access them," Councilman Sam Liccardo said. " But we don't need them in our neighborhoods."

Many business owners attended Tuesday's meeting and said the pot club's customers are hurting their bottom line.

Brandon Coker, a care center director, said he has seen customers publicly urinating on his driveway.

"They have been partying there at night," Coker said. "It's a party atmosphere. They've vandalized our vans."

Natural Herbal Pain Relief on Tenth Street operates in an area zoned for industrial use.

Manager Brando Duong said he supports restrictions that would keep medical marijuana facilities from opening near schools. But he said he does not agree with the proposal to require dispensaries to grow everything they sell.

"We don't have the space. We don't have the manpower. It's not safe to have all the pot plants on-site," he said. "That would be like letting people know we are cultivating plants and that's dangerous."

Duong also said he would have to hire at least six extra employees if the proposed rules are approved.

Other medical marijuana advocates said the proposed rules would, in essence, ban weed in San Jose.

"I am tired of watching the city council try to gain political points by having measures that hurt the disabled," Pamela Smith said at Tuesday's meeting.

Liccardo on the other hand said the cultivation requirement would improve safety.

"I agree with the police chief: We need to trace the drugs and trace the money," he said. "Otherwise it could be associated with Mexican cartels or other sources."

The city council is expected to vote on the proposed rules at a meeting on Tuesday, May 20.

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