San Jose
The city of San Jose has passed very strict zoning regulations that will limit medical marijuana in the city. Image: Flickr / catchpenny / CC-BY-SA

In California, medical marijuana accounts for an estimated $1 billion of state taxes. The relationship between cities and the medical marijuana business is an uneasy one, however, and the San Jose city council has voted to severely curb medical marijuana within city limits.

San Jose limits medical marijuana

A package of zoning regulations adopted by the San Jose city council on Tuesday limits medical marijuana locations. The zoning rules, combined, make for the most detailed framework around medical marijuana locations in the country. The zoning rules limit the number of dispensaries to 10 within the city. The rules also require medical marijuana collectives, which will be limited to no more than two per district, to grow all the marijuana they distribute on site.

The current state of San Jose dispensaries

San Jose currently has approximately 140 medical marijuana dispensaries. According to city officials, the dispensaries are all operating illegally and only 71 of them pay local taxes. None of the dispensaries will be grandfathered in with the new regulations, and all must apply for the 10 available licenses. The 130 that do not receive licenses must immediately cease operations. The 10 that do receive licenses must close by 8 p.m., must not be located in areas that receive extensive foot traffic, and can not allow on-site ingestion of medical marijuana. The locations must also stay outside a certain radius of schools, public buildings and churches.

Concerns about federal intervention

Medical marijuana growers and collectives in San Jose have spoken up, loudly, against the new zoning regulations. Growing collectives have expressed concern that the requirement of growing all of the marijuana distributed on-site could make the collectives a target for federal DEA agents. Dispensary owners have also expressed concern that the strict regulations will attract more attention from federal regulators.

Waiting for further action

The city of San Jose has not yet passed the zoning regulations. On Sept. 27, the city council will have a second reading of the proposed regulations. If passed, the regulations would go into effect at the end of September and the licensing process would begin in a few months.


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