- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Medical marijuana advocates in San Jose failed in their petition drive to let voters decide whether the city’s tough restrictions on pot clubs should be overturned.

The San Jose city clerk’s office announced Monday that supporters were more than 10,000 signatures short of the 33,262 registered voters required to put their measure on the November ballot, the San Jose Mercury News reported (https://bit.ly/1ka6Mk9 ).

“I think it says that the voters agree with the (City) Council - that it’s time for sensible regulation,” said Councilwoman Rose Herrera, a pot club opponent. “This helps keep them away from schools and interfering with businesses.”

The failed petition drive comes after the City Council approved new rules last month that took effect Friday. The new restrictions limit pot clubs to a few select industrial pockets - less than 1 percent of the city’s parcels. The regulations also enacted costly operating rules, such as 24-hour security and a requirement to grow marijuana within Santa Clara County or a neighboring county.

The restrictions will likely force a majority of the city’s 80 dispensaries to close by July 2015, despite their having a year to find a new location. Many dispensaries near homes have already shut down.

Advocates say San Jose’s medical marijuana rules are stronger than those in other Bay Area cities such as San Francisco and Oakland.

“It’s going to be a really different San Jose. There will be much fewer locations,” said James Anthony, an attorney who spearheaded a similar petition drive in 2011 and lobbied against the regulations this year. “At the moment, it seems like the city’s in the driver’s seat. I’d say at this point, the focus is on complying.”

Dave Hodges, who owns the All-American Cannabis Club in San Jose, said Monday he and fellow supporters believed they had up to 75,000 valid signatures in their month-long petition drive.

Yet, with a week to go, they discovered that most of them were bogus.

“At some locations, 75 to 80 percent of the people who told us they were registered voters actually weren’t,” he said.


Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, https://www.mercurynews.com



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