SAN JOSE — San Jose residents next year can buy marijuana at any of the city’s 16 licensed medical pot shops, the City Council decided in a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

The decision doesn’t allow new pot shops to open in San Jose and maintains rules on where the cannabis dispensaries are located — away from schools, parks and other collectives. But it aligns San Jose policies with the will of voters who last year approved Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adult use.

“I’m against children and youth using this drug but I understand the voters voted for recreational use,” said Councilman Johnny Khamis, who also asked city officials to explore lifting a ban that prohibits cannabis business owners from owning more than one location. “I would rather see all marijuana — whether people are buying it for medicinal or recreational purposes — be regulated and taxed.”

Mayor Sam Liccardo agreed, saying the city has a “good set of rules in place” for its 16 medical marijuana dispensaries.

Three years ago, San Jose became one of the first major cities to regulate medical marijuana. Leaders adopted two laws: One that outlined where the shops could go — away from schools, parks and other collectives — and another that controlled who can run a shop and how it operates. The city also required shop owners to register and pay fees, including a 10 percent tax on their gross receipts.

After weeding out hundreds of illegal pot shops, only 16 collectives made it through the city’s stringent registration process. Now, those 16 locations will be allowed to sell and deliver non-medical marijuana — with a state license — starting in early 2018.

Under the plan approved Tuesday, the 16 pot shops would be required to apply to sell recreational weed, pay registration fees and go through additional inspections. Their delivery drivers would agree to additional background checks and to outfit their vehicles with GPS devices and cameras to protect against diversion of cannabis.

More than 57 percent of voters in San Jose voted in favor of legalizing marijuana use for adults. District 6, which includes the affluent Willow Glen and Rose Garden areas, had the highest approval rate with nearly 65 percent of voters saying yes to recreational weed.

Every city in Santa Clara County also voted in favor of legalization. But a handful of Bay Area cities imposed bans on the sale of non-medical pot to allow city …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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San Jose approves the sale of recreational cannabis starting next year

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