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San Jose City Council Says It Will Take Steps To Counter New Medicinal Marijuana Initiative

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — After an initiative that would repeal San Jose's new medical marijuana regulations garnered enough signatures to make it to the ballot, the City Council said on Tuesday that it will decide next week what steps need to be taken.

San Jose City Council Says It Will Take Steps To Counter New Medicinal Marijuana Initiative

The proposed initiative from a group called Sensible San Jose would greatly expand where marijuana dispensaries could operate.

San Jose's rules limit collectives to about one percent of the city with distance requirements from schools and residential areas. San Jose Director of planning Harry Freitas showed council members a map identifying 31, 500 parcels medical marijuana applicants could occupy if the initiative is approved.

"Areas that certainly are not consistent with the direction this council took in its very thoughtful regulations process," Freitas said.

During the summer, San Jose voted to shut down about 90 medical marijuana businesses by Oct. 17 and allow some to reopen with an operating permit in 2015 under stricter rules.

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"The primary objective is to keep it out of our neighborhoods and away from our kids and certainly this initiative would make that very difficult," San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said. "It's certainly troubling to think about unlimited opportunities to sell Marijuana in our neighborhoods."

Councilman Pete Constant pointed out that under the rules of the initiative, a dispensary could open at Santana Row.

Fines for medical marijuana violations under the initiative would drop dramatically from up to $50,000 for repeat offenders to $100.

Next week, the City Council will choose to adopt the initiative, set a special election or put it on the next general election ballot in 2016. Competing measures are not allowed but Councilman Sam Liccardo suggested a companion measure.

"If there's any expansion in uses and locations then the dispensary tax doubles or triples or whatever is might be," he said.

A measure to legalize marijuana in California is likely to be on the ballot in 2016.

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