Not so fast, legal weed proponents of California. Just because the state is (almost definitely) going to legalize recreational marijuana after next week’s election doesn’t mean marijuana is actually going to be legal across the state.
Cities all up and down the state are racing to put new bans and regulations in place to gum up the works on legal pot. San Jose is just one of them. The Mercury News reports that the City Council is considering an urgency ordinance to ban the recreational weed business in the area. Specifically, it would restrict the use, cultivation, manufacturing, processing, distributing, testing, and selling of non-medical marijuana.
The idea, according to city leaders, is to stymie pot shops before they set up all over town. “We want potential cannabis entrepreneurs to know very clearly this is not allowed in San Jose,” said Michelle McGurk, an assistant to the city manager, told the Mercury News.
McGurk then seemed to backpeddle a little and say that the ordinance would serve to buy time while the city decided whether or not it wanted to go along with the state’s voters. “This would provide the time… for analysis and policy discussion – including environmental review, community outreach and ultimately coming back to the City Council for a decision on whether to allow and regulate commercial activity,” she said.
San Jose is far from alone in their pot-blocking tactics. Berkeley has approved a temporary ban on non-medical marijuana and several other cities. So have several cities in San Diego County, Santa Barbara, and Solvang. Many others are considering taking similar steps including Palo Alto and Martinez.
But some say these city ordinances are unnecessary and absurd. “This is a complete and utter waste of time,” said James Anthony, a cannabis-specializing attorney out of Oakland. Prop. 64 requires that a legal pot shop get a local license before it can be granted one by the state, so in effect these ordinances would only be banning the cities themselves from collaborating with members of the recreational industry.
And the proposition probably won’t create a free market of weed dealers. Many in the industry actually fear it will be increasingly regulated if the bill passes. “They don’t have the power to change the fact that marijuana will be legal on Nov. 9,” said Anthony. “They’re making it look like Prop. 64 is a scary thing that allows pot shops on every corner — and it’s the complete opposite.”
Photo via Flickr user Michelle Grewe