A fire that broke out at the Herb Appeal medical marijuana collective early Wednesday morning began on the porch, fire investigators believe, and may indicate that the cause was arson. While other marijuana collectives have had fires in the past, they were usually the result of faulty wiring indoors. In order to determine whether the fire was, in fact, arson, investigators are now searching for traces of accelerant at the scene.
Dispensaries have been robbed in the past, and some worry that if this situation was arson, it signals an uptick in crimes against them. The problem is exacerbated because San Jose has yet to impose licensing and zoning regulations on dispensaries, meaning that they are operating illegally within the city depending on the interpretation of law. This is, however, a gray area. Even if the city does not license them, it does intend to collect a 7 percent tax on the businesses.
City Council has been divided on how to deal with dispensaries, and law enforcement shut down eleven last year in raids. Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio would like to move forward with regulations to cut down on crime associated with dispensaries, while Councilmember Rose Herrera would like to shut all dispensaries down and impose a ban on them in the city.
Read More at ABC 7.