How will Santa Clara County enforce non-medical cannabis sales ban? The honor system. – San José Spotlight


A little more than a week ago, top Santa Clara County officials banned all recreational cannabis sales at dispensaries as part of a widespread shelter-in-place order meant to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Now, those administrators are saying they have no way to enforce the new rules. Their solution? The honor system.

“There is no requirement in the order for any kind of card, or doctor’s recommendation or anything at all,” Santa Clara County Executive Officer Jeff Smith said in an interview. “We’re relying on people to be honest about what they are doing and we trust that they will.”

San Jose cannabis dispensaries were sent scrambling last week when the county published an FAQ page on its public health order website last week that seemed to close stores to all but medical customers, and require non-medical transactions be conducted by delivery only.

But the order itself doesn’t mention cannabis. And the FAQ page fails to define the difference between medical and non-medical customers — a distinction advocates say is impossible to make since voters in the state decided to legalize weed for adults in 2016.

“The FAQs create confusion,” said Oakland-based cannabis-activist attorney James Anthony. “They create an artificial distinction between medical and non-medical based on some unknown authority that does not exist in state law.”

Within days of announcing the new rules, county leaders faced heavy criticism from state and city officials, and a petition with more than 20,000 signatures from people who want it to end the ban.

Still, many dispensaries, including Airfield, Caliva and Harborside, rushed to comply with the new rules. But now it is unclear if that was necessary, because county officials say dispensary owners and the San Jose Police Department — which enforces the order — can decide who is a

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