San Jose City Council members repealed Ordinance No. 28960, which included regulations of medical marijuana collectives and individual use of marijuana, at Tuesday’s meeting.
The ordinance allowed city action against collectives until the state creates a regulation system, directed staff to create quarterly reports on tax compliance and complaint data and allowed consideration of a tax increase, according to the council agenda.
This repeal comes after council members voted to limit local dispensaries back in September.
Opponents of the ordinance got enough signatures to be on a ballot, said Terry Christensen, political science professor.
“Enforcement will mostly be complaint based,” Christensen said.
This includes people in neighborhoods who complain about dispensaries and now allowing dispensaries to be close to schools ( which is state law ), Christensen said.
The ordinance defined “gross receipts” as the total amount received or receivable from all sales or contributions at a dispensary.
A contribution is a donation of cannabis to the organization, according to the ordinance.
“Our collective does not sale marijuana, it’s a contribution,” San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective founder/manager Dave Hodges said. “But the city still has a way to tax us.”
Citizen’s Coalition for Patient Care collected enough signatures to repeal the ordinance, attorney James Anthony said.
“There’s no reason for patients to not have local access,” Anthony said.
The coalition is hoping for uniform statewide regulations of dispensaries, he added.
Anthony also believes there should be more enforcement of people not paying taxes at dispensaries, and that the tax should reduced all together.
Five people expressed their support for dispensaries at the podium, explaining the difficulties it would create for them to get to dispensaries.
Michael Galvanez, a supporter of medical marijuana, talked about his previous prescriptions to Vicodin and OxyContin before his switch to medical marijuana.
Councilmember Ash Kalra voiced his support for medical marijuana and the rights of dispensaries.
“It shows the hypocrisy that we have in this country when it comes to drug policy,” Kalra said in response to Galavanez’s testimony. “Prescription drugs that are proven to be more damaging than medical marijuana are approved at the federal level and with ‘Big Pharma.'”
Mayor Reed and Councilmember Sam Liccardo reminded people that it is ultimately up to state and federal law to regulate medical marijuana.
“I think the public should be informed of who is at fault,” Liccardo said.
Two students agree that the law should be more lax on marijuana usage.
“I think it should be decriminalized, but corporations shouldn’t be able to sell it,” said Mitch Larsen, a junior digital media art major.
Two years ago, Mendocino County in Northern California appointed sheriff Randy Johnson to regulate marijuana growing, according to an article on NPR.
This earned the sheriff’s department more than half a million dollars and enlisted almost 100 growers, the article stated.
“Mendocino county had an experiment where the sheriff supervised pot growing,” said Matthew Jones, a junior spatial arts major. “The people had full protection and felt safe. The growers paid taxes and were happy about growing it in a legal way. It was a success.”
Council members will later discuss whether or not to increase marijuana business tax from 7 percent of gross receipts to 10 percent gross receipts, according to the agenda.