A last-ditch effort to block restrictive regulations on medical cannabis businesses in San Jose, California, has come up short.Advocates failed to get the required number of signatures for a proposed ballot measure seeking to overturn the rules, which severely restrict where dispensaries can locate.The failure means that most of San Jose’s 80 or so dispensaries will have to close within a year.The initiative’s backers turned in signatures to the City Clerk’s office on Friday afternoon. But city officials announced this week that the group came up about 10,000 short of the required number of valid signatures needed to make the ballot.The new regulations, passed recently by the San Jose City Council, force dispensaries into industrial areas and set strict new rules on their operations. Industry advocates have called the regulations a “de facto” ban because only a handful of dispensaries will be able to find suitable locations.Once the council passed the rules, marijuana proponents knew they faced an uphill battle to overturn the regulations.Some advocates have moved forward with collecting signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot for looser regulations on the city’s medical marijuana businesses. However, Mayor Chuck Reed has announced he will actively oppose such initiatives.
Dispensary owners in San Jose, California, are breaking out the picket signs.
On Thursday, representatives from 70 or so collectives will stage a rally at City Hall in San Jose to protest the recent regulations passed by the city council. According to a press release, the dispensaries are trying to increase the crowd size by offering vouchers for a free medical marijuana evaluation to the first 1,000 attendees.
The rally is part of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition’s petition campaign to fight the recently approved rules, which limit dispensaries to industrial parts of the city, prohibit the sale of cannabis that was not grown locally and restrict edibles sales.
The dispensaries must collect 100,000 valid signatures to advance two referendums that challenge the city council’s rules.
Some dispensaries are trying to relocate to comply with the regulations, though there are only a handful of areas that fit the bill.
“We’re going to try our best to find a new location, so long as the benefits outweigh the risks,” Andrew DeAngelo, director of operations for Harborside Health Center, told Marijuana Business Daily.
Not all businesses are taking that approach. Dave Hodges, owner of the All American Cannabis Club, said his business will close its doors on July 18 if the petition drive fails.
Medical marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley, California, must provide some free cannabis to low-income patients, the city council ruled in what appears to be a first for the medical marijuana industry.
Under the new regulations, dispensaries must set aside at least 2% of all products, which will be provided at no cost to very low-income patients. The cannabis must be of the same quality as the products sold to paying customers.
“Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” said Berkeley City Council member Darryl Moore.
Marijuana Business Daily is unaware of any municipal government in the United States that requires cannabis to be given away for free.
Some dispensaries, however, do so voluntarily. Berkeley Patients Group, for instance, has provided free cannabis to low-income patients since it was founded. Sean Luse, chief operating officer of Berkeley Patients Group, told CBS San Francisco that patients sometimes lose their jobs due to illness and cannot afford medicine.
“Those people really need the help the most,” Luse said.
As part of the new rules, Berkeley will also allow a fourth dispensary to open within city limits.