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San Jose looking to attract more pot dispensaries

Thomas Hawk
Flickr / Creative Commons

Right now, existing dispensaries have the green light from the city to grow -- but there are no eligible locations to do so. A new policy is making its way to the San Jose City Council that may allow them to finally expand.

Last week, San Jose Spotlight reports the Planning Commission voted 7-3 in favor of cutting distance requirements from 1,000 feet to 500 feet between cannabis retailers to schools, day care centers and other community spaces. They are also recommending that the requirements designed to prevent the concentration of dispensaries in a certain area, or in high-crime hotspots, be eliminated.

The commission's vote is just a recommendation to the city council and these changes would only go into effect if approved by councilmembers at their June 13 meeting.

This renewed effort comes less than a year after officials tried to reform cannabis dispensary rules to make way for new shops and more growth outside of East San Jose, where most dispensaries are clustered. The other reason for this push: each dispensary is estimated to bring in $1 million annually in city revenue.

Commissioner George Casey said, "By passing this and being in favor for this, it would spread (dispensaries) out of District 7 and sort of alleviate that clustering effect." District 7 is where the majority of dispensaries in the city are located.

Last year, councilmembers allowed the amount of cannabis business licenses that exist in the city to increase from 16 to 37. But the existing restrictions made it impossible for any dispensary to expand, largely because owners struggled to find suitable locations that did not violate any rule.