Pubdate: Tue, 29 Jul 2014
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2014 San Jose Mercury News


Every now and then, a good deed go unpunished. So it appears with San
Jose's regulation of medical marijuana distributorships.

Some wrenching decisions loom for the mayor and City Council,
including whether to put any tax measures on the ballot, and every
serious policy debate this fall will be complicated by heated races
for mayor and several Council seats. But at least there will be no
ballot battle over the city's new laws regulating medical marijuana

Signatures for a referendum on the rules passed in June fell short,
and activists have given up on a separate measure they hoped would
hoodwink voters into substituting bogus regulations for the council's
plan. It's taken years, but San Jose now has rules that will continue
the availability of medical marijuana while protecting neighborhoods
and the city's potential to attract good jobs.

Yes, most of the current pot clubs will have to move or close over the
next year to meet the new zoning restrictions. But cities in Santa
Clara County and much of the state-some 200 in all - are banning the
clubs entirely. We suspect at least some of those decisions are
inspired by the grief San Jose has received for even trying to put
rules in place.

In polling, a solid majority of San Jose residents supports keeping
marijuana available for the medical purpose that Proposition 215 in
1996 intended, particularly for victims of serious or chronic diseases
that can bring severe pain and loss of appetite. Unfortunately, the
state's failure to follow up with regulation has allowed just about
anybody to get a medical marijuana card, including teenagers. And
while bars and liquor stores selling a legal product are heavily
regulated, pot clubs have been the Wild West.

San Jose has made a good-faith attempt to bring things under control
while taxing the clubs to pay for enforcement. Its rules focus on
eliminating the party atmosphere that exists now at many clubs,
prescribing where clubs can operate, banning sales to kids and other
basic regulation.

America is in the midst of a sea change on marijuana

According to a New York Times report Sunday, nearly three-quarters of
the states have decriminalized possession, allowed medical use or
legalized the drug entirely. But pot use is still a crime under
federal law. The Obama administration has a attitude toward states
that permit some use, but the preceding Bush administration made no

Meanwhile, as Bay Area News Group staff writers Patrick May and
Heather Somerville reported over the weekend, use of far more
dangerous and addictive drugs is becoming common in the tech industry
as a coping mechanism for long work hours and the stress that ensues.
Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes' death from a heroin overdose
has placed a spotlight on it, but it's not new.

In the midst of this maelstrom, San Jose has tried to strike a balance
to keep medical marijuana available without having clubs blighting
neighborhoods or enticing kids. Good job.  
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