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San Jose Man Protects Cannabis Collective During City-Wide Crackdown

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The San Jose City Council passed tough new ordinances last Tuesday that in a few weeks will shutdown nearly all medical marijuana dispensaries because they'll be in violation of the new rules.

MediMarts owner Dave Armstrong will be the last man standing in what might be the only legal outdoor marijuana farm in Santa Clara County.

"I always believe in getting permission than asking for forgiveness," Armstrong said.

His farm is an acre of cannabis, surrounded by razor wire, an electric fence, cameras, sensors, 24-hour security and lots of sunshine. The latest crop will produce up to one and half tons of marijuana.

Armstrong, a former bail bondsman, says he's been following the law to a "T" for the past four years.

The law says collectives must be a so-called "closed loop system," where they grow and make everything themselves.

Right now, most dispensaries buy their marijuana from other growers, mark it up and resell it.

But MediMarts controls everything, from seedling to their store near downtown San Jose.

They have a 2,000-square foot kitchen that takes trimmings and infuses it into cooking oil, which they use to make cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats -- even frozen desserts.

"As far as the city, we're probably the golden child or the shining star for how the closed loop collective can and should be done," Armstrong said.

Mayor Chuck Reed agrees.

"They're an example of what you can do it you want to comply," Reed said. "It can be done."

Armstrong said it's a matter of transparency that allows him to continue operating within the legal bounds. "I've made it aware to both government entities and the state. Who I am, where I am and how I'm doing things," he said. "If I'm doing something wrong, you don't like something, let me know.

It might be the future of medical marijuana in San Jose, and the rest of the state, where everything is out in the light.

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