Pubdate: Wed, 16 Mar 2016
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2016 San Jose Mercury News


It's going to be quite a primary June 7 for San Jose voters, 
especially if California for once matters in the presidential 
nominations. Several city council seats have no longtime incumbents 
running, and candidates are swarming.

We suggest getting an early start on those choices with Measure C, 
the marijuana zoning initiative. It's easy. Just Say No. Seriously. 
The measure floated by medicinal pot club interests would allow them 
to locate in any agricultural, commercial pedestrian, commercial 
neighborhood, industrial park, light industrial, heavy industrial 
zoning districts, and certain planned development zoning districts - 
even near preschools. This would pretty much restore the chaos that 
existed when more than 100 clubs sprang up all over town several 
years ago, prompting the city to tax and regulate them, including 
rules about where they can locate.

The measure would set a dangerous precedent. Other businesses could 
bankroll campaigns to get voters to change zoning in their favor. 
Your neighborhood could be the loser.

This is not about whether you think marijuana should be available for 
medical purposes, as we do. Nor does it matter whether you think pot 
should be legal for recreational use. Most people believe selling 
alcohol should be legal, but it doesn't mean the Shots 'n' Beer 
Saloon should be able to locate anywhere it wants.

San Jose is painted as a villain by the clubs, but it has struggled 
to make this industry work while most other Silicon Valley cities 
took the easy way out and just banned the collectives. The city 
conducted long, careful deliberations before deciding how to limit 
locations, and it adjusted some rules to be compatible with the 
regulations California finally adopted last year.

San Jose was prompted to act after city council members and police 
were bombarded with complaints from neighbors of the clubs who saw 
unsavory behavior, including kids coming and going after school and 
people toking up outside the premises. Officials learned some 
businesses didn't want the clubs near them even in office parks, 
giving a bad impression to clients.

So the city limited where the clubs could go, set licensing 
requirements and asked voters to approve taxing them for enforcement 
costs. By the end of last year, 16 had met city requirements to 
operate. It's the others that want to roll back zoning to pretty much 
anything goes.

At least one proposition to legalize pot for recreational use will be 
on the fall ballot, although voters have rejected these before. 
Fortunately, the state appears ready to regulate the business, taking 
lessons from Colorado and other pioneers in legalization. In the 
meantime, it's important for San Jose to control where pot clubs can 
locate. Vote no on Measure C.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom