Former and aspiring cannabis dispensary owner Dave Hodges pledges to give away a quarter ounce of cannabis to any San Jose medical patient if the city’s ballot Measure C passes in Tuesday’s primary election there.
That could amount to upwards of 3,000 pounds of cannabis if all cannabis patients claim their quarter.
Measure C is a big deal for the former owner of All American Cannabis Club. If measure C passes, he could re-open his business, which closed in November, in San Jose thanks to the primary election.
“If Measure C does not pass, I may have to step away from the cannabis industry forever,” he said in a press release.
Hodges, who supports Bernie Sanders for President, works as the director of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition. Measure C would change regulations to open up access to medical marijuana, according to the Coalition. Currently, city regulations make delivering cannabis illegal. Hodges cites lost tax revenue as a reason to adopt Measure C.
At its peak, San Jose was home to approximately 140 dispensaries. New city regulations in 2014 has dwindled the remaining number down to approximately sixteen marijuana clubs largely due to zoning issues: “It’s definitely not increasing unless the city regulations are made more reasonable.”
Measure C would allow many medical cannabis dispensaries to reopen throughout the city.
Hodges has given out marijuana in the past based on things such as getting people out to vote or for signature gathering efforts. His collective was closed in November 2015.
“Since then, we’ve been trying to find another place to open up, trying to make things happen,” Hodges told MERRY JANE. “But, unfortunately, at this point, the only option for us to reopen would be if this initiative passes today.”
Hodges explains: “That would allow us to reduce a lot of the regulations currently preventing clubs from opening up and make it so people under the age of 21 can access medical cannabis facilities. Currently, anyone who wants to buy medication between the ages of 18 and 21 can only do it through drug dealers or friends.”
A handful of ongoing court battles, wherein dispensaries are fighting to open up shop once more, could be made irrelevant by voters today.
“The fact is unless initiative passes there is no hope for anybody,” Hodges said.
Hence, the free quarter ounce of marijuana. Whenever Hodges gives away free weed, there’s always some controversy.
“In past times, I’ve done things similar to this, and there has been some critics out there mainly saying we are trying to buy votes,” he said. “And that is not the case. It’s something that especially in this case the only way we could ever make this happen is if the law changed to allow us to operate.”
San Jose has been in headlines recently in the pot world after its pot czar was fired for no apparent reason.
Angelique Gaeta, in charge of San Jose's medical marijuana providers, was “surprised” by the development.
"I'm looking into all options available to protect both my legal rights and my reputation that I've earned of hard work and doing what is in the best interest of the city," she stated. "I've been with the city for 15 years and have always received positive performance reviews from both the City Attorney's Office and the City Manager's Office."
If it passess, Measure C will go into effect Wednesday.