Three San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries -- Divinity Tree, Medithrive, and Mr. Nice Guy -- closed over the weekend after receiving threatening letters from federal prosecutors, due to their proximity to schools and parks where children play. The closings are the first wave of the earlier announced federal crackdown on the California medical marijuana industry, which the Department of Justice -- with President Obama's blessing -- says has gotten out of control and "corrupted the intent of the first state referendum to decriminalize pot for medical purposes."
A glaring example of the unfairness of the crackdown comes with the closure of The Divinity Tree (958 Geary Street), owned by 64-year-old poet and quadriplegic Charlie Pappas, all because it was too close to a park that is more frequented by prostitutes and crackheads than it is by children.
That would be Sgt. John Macaulay Park, at the corner of Larkin and O'Farrell Streets -- a.k.a. the single least-used playground, at least by children, in the city limits. The park got spiffed up with a new jungle gym in 2000, but it remains at the heart of one of the crackiest neighborhoods in all the land, and as one medical marijuana card-holder and Divinity Tree patient tells the Bay Citizen, "There’s more dope fiends and junkies in the park smokin’ crack and shootin’ dope then there’ll ever be in front of this place," referring to the dispensary.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is the one who wrote the threatening letters that forced the closures, but she refuses to comment on the specifics of the Divinity Tree's location, only to say, "Most of the complaints and concerns from citizens are about the dispensaries being too close schools and parks where children play.” Yeah, we're pretty damn sure no one was complaining about the dispensary in this 'hood, since pot is the least of the Tenderloin's worries.
We suppose we should be glad we live in a place that at least supports the concept of dispensaries, and doesn't want to ban them altogether like they've done in Riverside.