Lawmakers Urge Santa Clara County To Cancel Ban On In-Store Recreational Cannabis

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On Monday, three members of the San Jose City Council wrote to Santa Clara County public health official Dr. Sara Cody asking him to reconsider a recent order banning the sale of recreational cannabis at San Jose dispensaries.

Pam Foley, Magdalena Carrasco and Maya Esparza sent a letter Monday afternoon imploring Cody to think about the “health and well-being” of the community.

“We are writing to formally request the Santa Clara County Public Health Unit to reconsider the order allowing the purchase of medicinal cannabis only in a store, on the street or on delivery,” the letter said. “Retailing in-store and take-home by the roadside for medicinal and recreational cannabis is essential to the health and well-being of many residents of Santa Clara County.”

Council members were joined by California MP Ash Kalra and Senator Jim Beall, who wrote their own joint letter to Cody.

“The ability for consumers to go to a well-established and highly regulated cannabis dispensary that meets standards of social distancing and sanitation is better than consumers who seek sellers outside the legal market,” wrote Kalra and Beall in the letter. “Legal and regulated dispensaries are prepared and can adhere to county public health ordinances. “

Council members noted that since voters in the state decided to legalize adult use in 2016, the medical cannabis market has essentially merged with adult consumers.

“With the adoption of Proposition 64, the need for a medical marijuana card has decreased, and adults with medical conditions can visit a clinic to buy cannabis products,” wrote council members. “Retailers estimate that between 70% and 80% of their customers are medical cannabis patients who have not renewed or taken the time to receive a medical marijuana card. “

An airport worker, wearing a mask and gloves, explains to a caller how to access their online ordering system. Photo by Adam F. Hutton.

But senior county public health officials responded by saying that there are many differences between sales of medicinal and recreational cannabis. Medical users, for example, do not have to pay sales and use taxes and can access cannabis when they are 18 years old. Recreational and adult consumers pay taxes and must be at least 21 years of age.

County health officials told San José Spotlight that the intent of the revised ordinance was “to keep people at home as much as possible.”

“We have received letters from cannabis dispensaries complaining that they now have to provide delivery services to several hundred customers each day who have previously purchased their product in the store,” public health officials said in a statement. communicated. “We fully appreciate the complexity and the burden of readjusting a business model to accommodate this volume of customers per delivery. However difficult as it may be, childbirth is a far better public health option because it keeps hundreds of people at home who would otherwise engage in physical interactions. “

But Foley, Carrasco and Esparza say some of the city’s most vulnerable residents may be denied access to cannabis – including the elderly who depend on it as a medicine instead of pharmaceuticals but don’t know how to use the technology to place a mobile or online order.

“Many of our seniors have come to rely on cannabis-derived compounds to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with chronic medical conditions and conditions,” said the letter from council members. “Today, recreational cannabis is only distributed by delivery, but seniors are less likely to access smartphone apps for cannabis delivery services. For these vulnerable residents, access to these products is crucial to their health and well-being. “

Although not in the letter, San Jose could also lose significant revenue to its coffers if sales of recreational marijuana decrease. Last year, the city collected $ 13.9 million in cannabis sales tax and $ 2 million in additional fees.

This story will be updated.

Contact Adam F. Hutton at [email protected] or follow @adamfhutton on Twitter.

Foley, Carrasco, letter Esparza

Letter from Kalra and Beall



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