California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Face Tough New Rules

CALIFORNIA:  San Jose leaders have taken their firmest stance yet on one of the thorniest issues at City Hall, moving to crack down big time on medical marijuana dispensaries following several failed attempts to get tough on pot over the last half-decade.

The San Jose City Council’s 7-3 vote Tuesday evening limits existing and new pot shops to a handful of select industrial areas that make up less than 1 percent of the city, which will require the vast majority of the dispensaries to close within a year. Even the ones that survive will have to comply with costly new restrictions.

Dispensary opponents led by some parents, prosecutors, conventional business owners and school officials pointed to research showing kids in San Jose were getting their weed from the pot shops, either through illegal drug deals or by obtaining medical cards. They said the city’s roughly 80 weed businesses were also destroying the character of suburban neighborhoods, attracting crime and blight.

While 60 percent of respondents in a city-commissioned poll earlier this year wanted pot shops regulated, only 16 percent favored an outright ban already adopted by about 200 California cities. But a ban is exactly what will happen, marijuana store owners say, as the new regulations will make it virtually impossible to do business in San Jose.