San Jose became the first city in the United States to regulate cannabis buyers’ clubs when the City Council unanimously approved a medical marijuana zoning ordinance earlier this month.
The ordinance allows “medical marijuana dispensaries” to open for business in the city’s commercial districts as long as they are located 150 feet from residences. The buffer zones between the clubs and schools, day care centers, and churches is 500 feet. Marijuana cultivation is allowed under the ordinance as long as the operators obtain a special permit from the city.
The ordinance bans smoking inside the clubs and forbids people under 18 years of age from entering the premises. Marijuana sales are legal only to registered patients and their designated caregivers. The ordinance does not allow clubs to deliver medical marijuana to the residences of seriously ill patients.
Peter Baez, co-founder of the Santa Clara County Medical Club, told reporters that he supports the ordinance despite it’s prohibition on marijuana smoking and delivery. Co-founder Jessie Garcia said he hopes the city will revisit those issues at a later date.
Mayor Susan Hammer summarized the council’s decision. “We certainly understand the mandate of the people of California,” she said. “We are going to regulate the land use for this activity just like we regulate the land use for other activities [like] bars, restaurants, and gas stations.”
NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre praised the city’s position. “Whereas the federal government’s official response to the passage of Proposition 215 has been to launch a war against doctors and seriously ill patients, the San Jose City Council is opting to work with patients and caregivers to implement the will of the California voters.”
For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858.