With very little fanfare, San Jose officials approved a decision to temporarily ban recreational cannabis sales. The ban will remain in place until at least 2018, when the city will be able to establish its own regulations and the state has begun licensing its own recreational cannabis stores. Californians will vote on Prop. 64, which will determine whether to legalize recreational marijuana on Nov. 8th, which is less than a week away. San Jose is looking to prevent a surge of marijuana stores opening illegally and in undesirable locations. Other Californian cities have enforced a similar precaution, including Palo Alto, Campbell, Foster City, Hayward, Davis and Martinez.
A Unanimous Decision
The city council unanimously voted on the ban, hoping to avoid a reoccurrence of some of the issues that arose when medical marijuana became legal. At that time, the city had no regulations regarding medical marijuana and, as a result, they were unprepared for the vast amount of dispensaries with which they ended up. The city stood without regulations until 2009, when Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio underwent the process of regulating and taxing medical marijuana in San Jose. The city was one of the first to create rules for its medical cannabis collectives. They managed to cut hundreds of dispensaries down to just 16 sanctioned stores. Now, as the laws potentially change again, the city has taken precautionary measures to allow them to regulate the industry before introducing it into the city.
Can San Jose Actually Block Legal Recreational Cannabis?
Some are doubtful that the city will be able to enforce the ban. Currently there are unsanctioned dispensaries and delivery services still running that the city has not been able to eliminate. Some believe the same thing is likely to occur for recreational cannabis sales. Dr. Benson Hausman, who is the executive director of Elemental Wellness, one of the sanctioned stores in San Jose explained, “Right now there are a number of illegal medical marijuana dispensaries and delivery services in the city and yet the city is unable to enforce its own ordinance.”
Despite doubts, many are applauding the council’s decision, including Oliverio, who is suggesting that officials look at what Colorado, Oregon and Washington did as an example of how to make the industry work.
Details of Prop. 64
Prop. 64, would allow adults over the age of 21 to consume, possess and transport up to an ounce of recreational cannabis as well as grow and process up to 6 plants indoors. Individual cities will be able to determine whether residents will be allowed to grow their plants outdoors. Large scale marijuana growers would be banned from entering the market for the first 5 years at least. Tax revenue would be spent on a number of areas, including job placement, mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, youth programs, highway patrol and marijuana research.
A coalition of artists in favor of passing Prop. 64 including Jay Z, Russell Simmons, Common, Olivia Wilde and Danny Glover have been pushing to support the proposal this week. The proposal needs more than a 50 percent vote to pass and according to the latest polls, the chances of the measure passing are good.