Update: Supervisors pass moratorium on marijuana dispensaries


The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to enact an immediate moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Santa Clara County, officials said.

Deputy County Executive Sylvia Gallegos said the moratorium is needed in light of San Jose's adoption on June 10 of new controls over marijuana dispensaries, leaving the county a likely place for pot dispensaries or cultivation sites to crop up, Gallegos said.

Board President Mike Wasserman said "the immediate moratorium allows us time to create a permanent ordinance, and at the same time fully analyze the impact on medical access to marijuana for compassionate use."

The board plans to conduct further analysis and weigh the impact that a permanent ban would have on compassionate use of marijuana for illnesses against the adverse effects of marijuana access for adults and children.

This moratorium will allow the County time to prepare zoning ordinance amendments to be presented to the Board at its meeting on August 5.

While there are no marijuana dispensaries or cultivation sites currently licensed by the county, San Jose's new law permits dispensaries to grow marijuana at a single site in the city, in the county or a county that borders Santa Clara County, Gallegos said.

The immediate passage of the moratorium prevents cannabis dispensaries and growing operations from cropping up within the county over the board's July recess, Gallegos said.

According to Gallegos, marijuana should be available for "those 1 percent to 2 percent of Californians who have a serious illness, such as glaucoma, HIV, or cancer."

Research by the county Department of Alcohol and Drugs Services showed that marijuana has a "unique impact on adolescents and young adults because of its effects on memory and executive functioning," Gallegos stated.

The department, in a report released in April, stated that the younger the user of marijuana, the greater the impact on their brain development and regular use can result in a permanent drop of 6 to 8 IQ points.

The county Public Offender office reported finding an association between the growth of unregulated pot dispensaries from a few years ago and a higher percentage of substance-related suspensions in the East Side Union High School District in San Jose.

In the 2011-2012 school term, substance abuse suspensions increased by 106 percent over the year while suspensions at the district's schools in general dropped by more than 28 percent.

While not all of the drug violations were for marijuana, "it was reported anecdotally that the vast majority of these incidents did, in fact, involve marijuana" and schools reported students were coming onto campuses "with baggies, pill bottles, and, in some cases, medical marijuana from the dispensaries," according to Gallegos.

She said that beyond the temporary moratorium, the county's administration has recommended that supervisors prohibit marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas.

Since 2009, six marijuana dispensaries opened in unincorporated county lands without land use approvals. Five closed within a month after being contacted by the sheriff's office and county code enforcers, while one dispensary was annexed to San Jose, according to Gallegos.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Vanier, in a report, said federal and county investigators have discovered "multiple cartel drug trafficking cells operating within the county" and cartel members who were arrested have revealed, "how marijuana cultivation is a significant component to their overall business."

Mexican cartels, including the Sinaloa and Michoacan, oversee cultivations of both indoor and outdoor operations and engage in "human trafficking" by bringing in farm workers from regions they control, according to Vanier.

There has also been an increase in Vietnamese criminal street gangs distributing marijuana in the county, one being the Insane Viet Thugs found in 2010 by state narcotics agents to have operated grow houses and drug rings from San Jose to Vallejo, Vanier reported.

Gallegos referred to findings by the District Attorney's Office that San Jose dispensaries used up to 50 cultivators in California, some run by Mexican drug cartels.

Vanier, in a report on marijuana in the county, said the office had filed charges against 172 illegal marijuana grow operations within the county, 118 of them indoors and mostly in converted homes, from 2011 to 2013.

The 54 outdoor grows, found by the county's Marijuana Eradication Team, were usually located in remote unincorporated areas in foothills outside Milpitas, San Jose, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Saratoga and on public lands such as Henry Coe State Park.

Over the last three years, the sheriff's eradication team removed 355,005 marijuana plants and seized 1,838 pounds of illegal processed marijuana bud, mostly from outdoor cultivation sites, Vanier reported.

— Bay City News Service

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3 people like this
Posted by mary jane
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Legalize it. Save all these enforcement costs.

3 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

They need to legalize it and stop spending taxpayer money on trying to eliminate a Weed.

Many people need it. If it was legal, the county wouldn't have to waste their time on this type of stupidity.

Schools always had drugs, there is nothing new there.

Dispensaries help solve the underground markets for the honest persons that need it.

3 people like this
Posted by Here we go again
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Gawd this is exasperating. Its been well over 20 years since its has become legal under many usages. It is sooo much more beneficial than so many other drugs, but still some are caught up in the baseless fears and propaganda of the past.
I've watched for years as they claim an issue, that issue is debunked or resolved, so they just change the target and think up another issue, which of course is summarily debunked again. Thank god for the delivery services.

3 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

What a disgraceful article, filled with fact-free, long-debunked "reefer madness" hysteria and lacking a single voice from any of the estimated 50,000 cannabis patients in the area. The MV Voice essentially acts a PR agent for the government, citing all sorts of police action against cannabis providers as "evidence" that cannabis is a problem. Remember: the police are on commission. They are incentivized to arrest & harass cannabis providers because they get to essentially seize (steal) their property, cash and cars to use for themselves.

When the people of Santa Clara County voted overwhelmingly in 1996 to approve medical cannabis for "any illness for which marijuana provides relief," they probably couldn't have dreamed of all the legal roadblocks venal politicians and police would enact to prevent safe, legal access to "one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man" (DEA legal ruling, 1988). The list of ailments for which cannabis can provide relief runs into the hundreds and includes not only the big-ticket diseases like cancer and AIDS, but also epilepsy, diabetes, Crohn's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, neuropathic pain, migraines, PMS, muscle spasms, Tourettes, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and too many more to list. Evidence is even growing that Alzheimers and other mental deterioration is partly due to low cannabinoid levels in the brain. Web Link

San Jose just spit on their own citizens by passing an ordinance that effectively bans dispensaries in that city. County Supervisors should stop believing police & government lies and educate themselves about the massive benefits of medical cannabis. The War on Drugs is a crime against humanity; denying tens of thousands of patients a safe supply of cannabis is a human rights violation of the first order.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Yes, just legalize it. More tax revenue, less law enforcement, judicial, and prison expenditure. Really how hard is it? Alcohol and cigarettes are just as harmful if not more harmful drugs.

3 people like this
Posted by So silly
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

"Alcohol and cigarettes are just as harmful if not more harmful drugs."

+1 for more harmful. 2 cause death very very regularly. No such thing happens with pot. Alcohol and cigs are ENORMOUSLY more dangerous to ANYONE in society than is pot.

3 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I'm all for legalizing ALL drugs. Weed should have never been made illegal in the first place and it's time to stop this madness.

But it's hard for the state to let go. Think of all that budget money they will likely lose? Don't think they're going to stop trying to justify their budgets no matter how many times the voters in this state say it's time to legalize weed.

3 people like this
Posted by kevin
a resident of Gemello
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Typical slanted reporting by Mt View Voice.....

3 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

@silly, the oldest proven person, Jeanne Calment lived to 122 and she smoked all her life. If you are going to get cancer you will whether you smoke or not, it's in your genes.

Google Centurions that smoke.

3 people like this
Posted by An Acutal Geneticist
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Right, and a few scant people have it in their genes and they protected against cancer, so it is assumed. The rest of us all have to live with the real odds. We ALL have it in our genes, except for some anecdotal instances as mentioned above.

3 people like this
Posted by MagicPeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm


Statistically, tobacco kills about 50% of all users. Web Link The fact that some smokers live to be 100 doesn't change that.

Excessive alcohol consumption kills about 88,000 Americans every year. Web Link Alcohol is also a leading cause of traffic fatalities and is HIGHLY correlated with domestic violence and other incidences of violence.

Cannabis has a perfect safety record for 5000 years; in the famous 1988 DEA ruling Judge Francis Young said he could not find a single instance of a death from overdose or allergic reaction in all the medical literature despite the millions of daily users. Cannabis is also NOT correlated with any increase in violence (other than violence related to prohibition).

3 people like this
Posted by Brad
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:32 pm

However, "No other drug has been freely available before its potential harm and benefits have been evaluated," Gallegos stated.

Come on! what about
- Cocaine
- Opium
- Alcohol
- Tobacco
- etc

These were all freely available, long before any laws were passed to ban or regulate them.
And since when is Marijuana "freely available" in California? It still requires a doctor's prescription, so it's no more "freely available" than Vicodin or Oxycontin or Adderall.

What is Gallegos trying to say, exactly? what rock has he been living under?

3 people like this
Posted by WHY?
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm

What I don’t understand is why marijuana is not under the control of the government like all other drugs with appropriate clinical test and trials?
It appears that there is no control over growing, producing and selling it and anyone can do it.
Why isn’t it manufactured to high standards by legitimate drug companies and dispensed through drug stores like all other drugs by a doctor’s prescription?
Also what happens if someone is injured, maimed or killed by a person impaired by marijuana?

3 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Brad: Doctors can't actually "prescribe" cannabis because it remains (disgracefully) a Schedule 1 drug at the Federal level.

To legally use medical cannabis, all you need is an oral recommendation from a doctor. Most dispensaries require a written recommendation, and these are almost all given by doctors who specialize in it. Normal doctors are mostly too ignorant about cannabis (due to years of government propaganda) or too scared of the medical board to actually give out a written recommendation.

It's extremely easy to get a cannabis recommendation for the simple reason that cannabis is so helpful for such a wide variety of conditions, and so physically benign, that there are a lot of courageous doctors willing to risk their licenses to help people get legal cover to use a healing plant that is the birthright of every human on earth.


Cannabis (the proper name) is a botanical medicine that has been used for thousands of years. It has never killed a single person; indeed, it is safer than strawberries or peanuts. It 100% NOT the job of the government to exert control over the natural world, especially over healing plants that are extremely effective and completely safe.

>Also what happens if someone is injured, maimed or killed by a person impaired by marijuana?

They will be held liable, just like someone impaired by pseudofed, codeine, or Ritalin will be. Experienced cannabis users are quite capable of moderating their dosage and not injuring, maiming or killing people. This differs from alcohol in that even experienced alcohol users regularly cause death and injury to themselves and others.

Having cannabis freely available does not preclude pharmaceutical companies from creating their own cannabis medicines, precisely measured and dosed. It does, however, mean they can not, SHOULD not, have a monopoly over this ancient healing plant. Everyone wants to have monopoly control and it's OUR job -- all of us -- to make sure no one gets it.

3 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

SHAME ON THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS! They have just literally shat on tens of thousands of sick and suffering patients in their jurisdiction by cruelly denying them safe access to this ancient healing botanical medicine.

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right." — Martin Luther King

The County Supervisors apparently lack both conscience and courage. Shame on them.

3 people like this
Posted by letsgetreal
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Where is the "LIKE" button!! To PeaceLove ~ you said everything I was thinking, it is correct, NOBODY has died or overdosed using cannabis. The only reason cannabis isn't legal is that the state can't figure out how to tax and dispense it. Sooo frustrating, and definitely archaic.

3 people like this
Posted by Andrew Boone
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Here's the "like button": join this Facebook group to help prevent San Jose medical marijuana dispensaries from shutting down:
Web Link

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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