San Jose cracks down on churches selling marijuana

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Among the 12 businesses operating out of a Meridian Avenue building is ONAC, Oklevueha Native American Church.

But the city of San Jose says what goes on behind the doors of unit nine is, in fact, an illegal medical marijuana dispensary.

On Monday, a judge ordered those who operate this place to shut down the pot-selling operation within 10 days.

“We’re not saying people cant smoke marijuana for religious reasons,” said San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle, “but you cant sell it you can distribute it like they do.”

Doyle says right now the city has permitted 16 pot dispensaries and this isn’t one of them.

“They may call it a religious institution but it’s a dispensary,” Doyle says. “We have very strict rules both land use rules and police permitting rules where you locate and how you operate and they don’t meet the test.”

ONAC refused to speak with KRON4 News but those with businesses nearby said they were happy to see the pot dispensary shutdown.

“The traffic in and out, they come in here speeding, they’re back there smoking, its all day long,” said Nicole Berdin of Gypsy Rose Salon. “Our clients don’t have places to park and then there’s the smell, our clients walk in and they are like, wooo so it’s really bad for business.”

City officials say they will also be filing suit to shutdown an illegal marijuana dispensary at this church on the Alameda.

A spokesperson for Coachella Valley Church denies the allegation saying, “we are a church not a dispensary. There are no cannabis sales going on. There is an exchange, we grow and share. We do distribute, but we don’t sell.”

The city of San Jose is expected to file suit against Coachella valley church later this month. A hearing is expected early next year.

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