Fines, Pressure Close More San Jose Dispensaries

San Jose is serious about shutting down its legal marijuana industry.

A year ago, there were as many as 80 medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California’s largest city. Last summer, the City Council passed strict new zoning controls that limited legal marijuana businesses to roughly 1 percent of city limits, according to some estimates, and followed that up in September by approving penalties of up to $50,000 for cannabis clubs that defied the ban.

Eighty became 40 and then 25. By December, the city announced that 19 of the 23 remaining dispensaries were out of compliance, “operating illegally,” and would face serious penalties if they remained open, KCBS reported.

The city has doled out $160,000 in fines to property owners renting to pot clubs, including $75,000 to one landlord, the radio station reported.

Any dispensary lucky enough to meet the city’s new requirements now has to pay an annual fee of $71,000 for a license, by far the most expensive permit in the Bay Area.

Providing a rare moment of sanity, City Councilman Ash Kalra said he’s worried this de facto ban on legal weed will encourage the black market just as “we’re seeing the end of prohibition.”