Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

San Francisco OK’s recreational cannabis effective Jan. 5

07 12.7.17_sal.alioto.cannabis PAGESal Alioto, a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish and retired owner of Sal’s Pizza, was among the neighbors rallying against a cannabis dispensary approved for Irving Street at 23rd Avenue in San Francisco. Most of the neighborhood businesses shut down for an hour Dec. 1 to protest the Barbary Coast cannabis dispensary, approved by the city Planning Commission. The neighborhood appeal was scheduled to be heard by the Board of Supervisors Dec. 5. (Photo by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)

December 7, 2017
Valerie Schmalz
Catholic San Francisco

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to enact land use regulations that will allow recreational marijuana stores throughout the city – with reduced 600-foot buffer zones for schools and no protection for day care centers, preschools or after school programs.

The legislation was set to return to the board for a final vote on Dec. 5. That law will open up to cannabis dispensaries portions of the city that were previously restricted.

Excelsior District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai was the lone no vote.

Under the ordinance approved in San Francisco Nov. 28, all of the 46 existing medical marijuana dispensaries – 30 storefront and 16 delivery services – will be allowed to convert to recreational cannabis dispensaries after complying with some regulations including a temporary permit. So will any medical marijuana dispensaries whose applications are still in the pipeline. That may include a contentious one on Irving Street at 23rd Avenue that was approved by the Planning Commission but is being appealed to the Board of Supervisors Dec. 5. St. Anne of the Sunset pastor Father Dan Nascimento, school principal Tom White and the head of the parent association Bev Perea are working with other neighborhood activists to oppose the dispensary at 2161-2165 Irving.

The next 46 dispensaries would have to be “equity” owners, a category created to prioritize low income and minority applicants with previous cannabis convictions.

At the meeting Nov. 28, amendments proposed by District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang that would have maintained the 1,000-foot buffer zone from schools in place under medical marijuana law, and added day care and extended care programs were defeated. Tang represents the outer Sunset District from 19th Avenue to Ocean Beach, south of Golden Gate Park.

“Really, it’s a reflection of what my community has asked for,” Tang said.

Bernal Heights District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronan called California’s legalization of recreational marijuana “an exciting moment in our country’s history – of finally waking up and saying we have been mistaken in how we have handled drugs in this country.”

Bayview District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen said the 1,000-buffer zone “perpetuates the problem of clustering” putting more cannabis dispensaries into neighborhoods of “poor, working-class communities where people of color are now.”

Pacific Heights and Marina District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell said he did not accept arguments that storefront cannabis dispensaries would have a negative effect on young children, saying he would have no problem walking by one with his three young children.

Joining in support of the 1,000-foot buffer zone were Excelsior District 11 Supervisor Safaí; Tenderloin District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim; Richmond District

District 1 Supervisor Sandra Fewer; and West Portal area District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee. However, Fewer voted against amendments that would add day care centers and after-school programs to protected areas either under a 1,000- or 600-foot buffer.

The state law legalizing recreational or adult use marijuana takes effect Jan. 1. Each local jurisdiction must enact land use regulations for sale and growth and manufacture of cannabis and many, such as East Palo Alto and Millbrae, have voted to completely ban cannabis sales. In Marin County, only one medical marijuana outlet in Fairfax is permitted.

Under federal law, marijuana remains a Class I prohibited substance, defined as a substance with a high potential for abuse. While the federal government has largely taken a hands-off approach toward legalized marijuana at the state level, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Nov. 29 said marijuana was “detrimental” to the country sparking speculation that the federal government may begin cracking down on marijuana operations.

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