SAN JOSE (KCBS)— San Jose has assessed some hefty fines against illegally operating marijuana dispensaries. 19 of the city’s 23 collectives, found to have been operating illegally, have now closed and had received warning letters from the city.

The number of collectives able to meet the city’s new zoning regulations continues to shrink. Meanwhile, San Jose City Council has begun doling out over $160,000 in fines for those violating the law.

“One property owner has been cited $75,000 for allowing the dispensary to continue to operate there and operate in violation of our regulations. Another property owner has been cited $50,000. A third property owner has been cited $37,500 and another $5,000,” said Angelique Gaeta, assistant to the city manager.

Starting January 1st, dispensaries will have to pay an annual operating fee of $71,000.

City Councilman Ash Kalra tried, but failed, to get the operating fee law delayed by six months.

“My worry is that we’re going to limit access and ultimately push this back underground at a time at which we’re seeing the end of prohibition around the corner and very likely in 2016 we’ll see a ballot measure that may legalize recreational marijuana altogether,” said Kalra.

A move to delay the fee for six months was defeated with Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo among those who voted ‘no’.

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