The latest victim of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag's crusade against medical marijuana dispensaries is the Lower Haight's oft-celebrated Vapor Room Cooperative. As owner Martin Olive tells Haighteration, the Feds have been tightening the screws on his establishment after eight years in the neighborhood, citing its proximity to the nearby Harvey Milk School and Duboce Park playground.
As we've seen in the past, the U.S. Attorney's reasons for snuffing out the Vapor Room are in something of a legal gray area: City regulations ban dispensaries from operating within 1000 feet of "community facilities and/or recreation centers" that primarily serve youngsters. State law, meanwhile, prevents cannabis clubs from opening within 600 feet of schools. As Haighteration points out, the Vapor Room is within that 1000-foot radius of the park, but the city does not usually include playgrounds in their dispensary regulations. So, it would seem like the Feds are again using local regulations to enforce federal laws — none of which have been broken according to local and state authorities.
Anyhow, the Lower Haight Merchants Association also stood up for a local business that they feel has been an exemplary neighbor. In a letter to the US Attorney's office, the business association unraveled a list of things the cannabis club has done to enliven the neighborhood, including contributions to the John Muir Elementary School and supporting community events like Art Walks. While the LHMA supports helping the dispensary move to another location, it looks like the Feds' measurements would mean no location in the Lower Haight would fit their requirements.
In the meantime, the Vapor Room's last day in business as a brick-and-mortar shop will be July 31st. No word yet on whether the cooperative plans to switch to a delivery-only model, as other local operations have done.