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St. Anne Parish, school organize against proposed marijuana store

November 16, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

St. Anne of the Sunset Parish and school are organizing against a cannabis dispensary that was approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission on Irving Street, in the heart of the local shopping district. The appeal of the Barbary Coast dispensary at 2161 and 2165 Irving is scheduled to be heard by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Dec. 5.

“We’re no07 Nascimento_Fr. Daniel THUMBt in favor of more dispensaries, especially in family neighborhoods,” said St. Anne pastor Father Dan Nascimento, who along with Holy Name of Jesus pastor Father Arnold Zamora is opposing the marijuana dispensary in their Sunset neighborhood on Irving between 22nd and 23rd avenues.

St. Anne parish is also mobilizing opposition to the citywide legislation proposed that would open up more of the city to adult use cannabis dispensaries when California’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana takes effect Jan. 1. The citywide law was scheduled to be discussed and perhaps voted on Nov. 14 at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors regular meeting. The state law leaves it to the local cities and counties to regulate the cannabis dispensaries primarily through land use and public health laws. The proposed legislation would give medical marijuana dispensaries first priority to convert to adult use.

“As it is now, the mayor and some supervisors, want to set up ‘reasonable’ cannabis use in the city,” Father Nascimento said in a letter, saying it is important to get the word out “to let our parents and parishioners know so they can let the supervisors know.”

He said neighborhood opposition convinced the board of supervisors to overturn Planning Commission approvals of a dispensary at Taraval Street and most recently the Apothecarium at 32nd Avenue and Noriega Street. The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to uphold an appeal against the Apothecarium Oct. 3, a chain partly owned by former Oakland mayor Jean Quan and her husband.

St. Anne principal Thomas White and parent association president Beverly Perea in a letter sent home to parents urged them to sign a petition against the dispensary, and Perea told Catholic San Francisco Nov. 13 that a significant number had signed.

“These locations lie within proximity to commute routes and schools for the children in the neighborhood. While the applicants claim their facilities will take a low-key approach, nonetheless, the children in the community will know of the facilities and be elevated in their awareness of pot use in the area,” White and Perea state. White and Perea also note that Barbary Coast, which now has a smoking lounge and medical marijuana dispensary on Mission Street near Sixth Street, hopes to add a cannabis smoking lounge on Irving.

The St. Anne parish council at its last meeting voted to contact the board of supervisors with its opposition. Father Nascimento placed a notice in the Sunday bulletin alerting parishioners and asking them to contact their district supervisor. The dispensary lies in District 4, represented by Supervisor Katie Tang, and the parish is within District 5, represented by board of supervisors president London Breed.

During the 2016 election cycle, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Cardinal Willian Levada, San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop William Justice and Oakland Bishop Michael Barber all wrote opinion pieces opposing the legalization of cannabis for adult use in California.

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