Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tech Workers Fuel San Jose Medical Marijuana Scene, Employers Give Up on Drug Screening

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Hand in hand
  • Hand in hand

It was only a few years ago that spooked-out city leaders in San Jose declared that medical marijuana dispensaries had taken over their town. Today, there are still more than 100 dispensaries in the South Bay city, many more than are in San Francisco and the East Bay combined. And they're thriving, with no small thanks to the ever-burgeoning technology industry.

Dispensaries big and small do fine business within smoking distance of some of high-tech's biggest names, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. And while most firms have strict policies against drug use -- all drug use -- coders with cramped wrists make up to 40 percent of some dispensaries' patient bases. Maybe that's why the likes of Adobe, Cisco. and others have given up on pre-employment drug screening -- it's too hard to find someone who is clean.

In many ways, it makes nothing but sense: Silicon Valley is the region's employment hub, with some of the biggest companies headquartered there. So there's a steady stream of commuter traffic, and some of it is coming from places like San Mateo County, where there are no medical cannabis dispensaries.

There may be a culture of cannabis use among technology workers -- just as there may be among bus drivers, schoolteachers and police officers -- and while the practice isn't officially condoned by employers, they're also waving the white flag. Cisco and Adobe have stopped pre-employment drug screening, Bloomberg reported, and this is a growing trend elsewhere, according to Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions.

Not everyone is thrilled about this. San Jose's estimated 106 medical marijuana clubs are "many more than are necessary to meet the medical needs of our population," according to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. That's probably the point -- commuters are being served by the dispensaries in San Jose, and the additional dispensaries in Santa Clara, where for a time some of the region's largest dispensaries operated.

You may also recall that San Jose briefly flirted with the idea of banning dispensaries, shortly after the city decided it was much better to tax them. Perhaps there is the lesson: Productivity rules everything around us, and if the cash and code are flowing, there's no need to stop it.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"