As reported late last week in Gumballs, Santa Clara local officials decided it was “time’s up” for regulated cannabis.
Not so quick.. cannabis advicates are already mounting a counter attack with a new petition.
The San Jose Spotlight reports
A petition launched Friday to stop Santa Clara County from banning recreational cannabis sales at dispensaries under a new health order garnered thousands of signatures within hours, the latest call from advocates to overturn the controversial decision.
As first reported by San José Spotlight on Wednesday, Santa Clara County leaders reversed a previous decision in March to allow dispensaries countywide to remain open under a stay-at-home order, deeming them “essential” for both medicinal and recreational consumers. But a revised order issued this week further clamped down on essential businesses and the shops were ordered to only deliver recreational pot — not sell it at the store or curbside pickup.
“Non-medical cultivation, supply, and dispensing of cannabis are prohibited, with the exception of deliveries directly to residences,” said the county’s new FAQs for the revised order. “Dispensaries with a mixed clientele of both medical and non-medical customers can do in-person business only with medical customers.”
Advocates, including famed Oakland cannabis attorney James Anthony, called it a “de-facto ban” on cannabis and likened it to rolling back Prop. 64, the widely-supported 2016 measure that legalized marijuana use for adults.
“This policy will result in the loss of several businesses, hundreds of jobs in our community and hundreds of thousands of dollars in local sales tax revenue that is desperately needed to help our first responders and hospitals right now,” Anthony wrote in the petition, which netted nearly 11,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
The problem, according to Anthony, is it’s nearly impossible differentiate between medical and recreational cannabis users. Prop. 64 blurred those lines because cannabis became legal across the state, and medical patients stopped renewing their doctor’s orders. Now, they’ll be forced to get new orders or medical cards to access marijuana at any dispensary in the county.
The changes came after Santa Clara County adopted a stricter stay-at-home order to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The new order is in place until at least May 3.
Some top county elected leaders say the changes are needed to keep people safe.
“The Public Health Officer’s order has closed the overwhelming majority of storefront retail businesses,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “It is intended to keep people inside and prevent the transmission of this deadly virus. Cannabis customers can still acquire cannabis through delivery.”
But Anthony said there’s no evidence to show that any COVID-19 illness or deaths statewide were linked to licensed cannabis retailers. “Dispensary workers are wearing gloves and masks, enforcing the distancing rule for both patrons and employees and implementing curb-side service as quickly as they can,” he wrote in the petition.