San Jose is getting out in front of California Proposition 64, which, if passed, would legalize recreational marijuana in the Golden State. Recalling the headache of medical marijuana legalization two decades ago — "At one point we had over 100 marijuana dispensaries," ABC 7 quotes Vice Mayor Rose Herrera as saying, and she characterized the scene as once being the "Wild West" — local lawmakers have moved to prohibit recreational marijuana in San Jose. City Council members voted unanimously yesterday to adopt an urgency ordinance, Bay City News reports, a maneuver that would put the brakes on recreational pot in the city, which advocates say will allow time to consider legalization on a local timeframe after consulting with community groups and holding public hearings. "State [law] would allow any resident to grow marijuana in their backyard," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said according to ABC 7, "but not everyone wants to live next door to the odor of marijuana growing in the backyard." Such literal NIMBYism is so rare that Liccardo's statement is sort of refreshing!
While San Jose's urgency ordinance would halt sales of recreational pot, as well as cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of non-medical marijuana products in the event of legalization, it wouldn't and couldn't criminalize recreational pot use if Prop 64 passes. That measure calls to allow 28.5 grams of recreational use marijuana per person over the age of 21, also providing for 4 to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis products per person and six living pot plants. The proposition allows cities to prohibit or otherwise regulate outdoor cultivation of pot plants but not to regulate indoor cultivation. Prop 64 would also create a state Marijuana Tax Fund, 60 percent of which would go to youth substance abuse prevention and treatment. Another 20 percent would go to law enforcement, and another 20 percent would be distributed to environmental groups charged with marijuana related cleanup and enforcement. A state program to allow recreational marijuana businesses to begin selling pot, no medical card needed, would begin issuing permits in 2018.
Meanwhile the Chronicle writes that Oakland is scrambling to get its house in order regarding pot laws: The city council was scheduled to discuss changes to controversial marijuana business permitting decisions made in May, but a vote planned for last night was postponed until November 14. “The thing that’s sending shock waves is the incredible instability and insecurity being caused by the uncertainty and delays in the city’s process,” said the consultant Jason Overman, a former aide to Rebecca Kaplan who is a consultant to pot-based businesses.
Several council members who had originally approved of May's measures have withdrawn their support and expressed a wish to revisit the legislation. "The amendments introduced in May 2016, and ultimately adopted by the council, were brokered at the last moment without community outreach,” three members of the council wrote in a late September memo. Those, in particular, involved social restitution measures like setting aside half of the city's permits for marijuana businesses to give them to people who were jailed on marijuana convictions in Oakland over the past decade or to those who have live in an area of East Oakland that had particularly high arrest rates for marijuana crimes in 2013. Such measures are aimed to acknowledge the disproportionate effect that the so-called war on drugs had on communities of color, but some lawyers and cannabis business insiders say the criteria are too specific and could damage the local industry.