"If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was a case of short-term memory loss," jests the Chronicle's resident grump C.W. Nevius in an explainer on the locations of San Francisco's medical marijuana dispensaries in which he goes after Supervisor John Avalos.
At issue is Avalos' perceived change of mind on the topic of the clustering of pot dispensaries, something that the Board of Supervisors took up last year when they voted that dispensaries could not open within 500 feet of each other. But now Nevius and a few neighbors are taking issue with Avalos's support of local "Apple Store of Pot" Sparc's bid to open its second dispensary, this one in the already pot-dense Excelsior/Outer Mission.
Since the 2005 Medical Cannabis Act keeps dispensaries from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, and substance abuse treatment facilities,
that makes SoMa and the Tenderloin the largest available "green zones." Currently they hold more than a third of our 29 dispensaries, despite the fact that the SF Planning Commission voted this year to decrease that buffer zone to 600 feet.
The Excelsior/Outer Mission is tempting more potential dispensaries, and has had three recently approved in the span of one meeting, with three more reportedly eager to open and the expansion is due in part to demand from San Mateo County residents who have to come north to get their medical cannabis needs met. Thus there are now three dispensaries on Mission south of Geneva, and SPARC is hoping to move in as well, something that the Planning Commission will decide this week.
"We're just trying to do what's right for our patients," says SPARC CEO Robert Jacob when contacted by SFist. "The question is 'what is clustering,' and SPARC's new proposed location is 800 feet away from the nearest dispensary. It's over two blocks away, it's not within sight of another dispensary, so Avalos isn't actually flip-flopping on anything. He's been very consistent."
Jacob reinforces the decision by the Board establishing the 500-foot rule and says, "SPARC took great care in selecting this location to make sure we were well over 500 feet away from another dispensary." The neighbors, and Nevius, may consider this clustering, but the rules have already been set.
SPARC maintains they are no threat to the area, and this why they've had the support of commissioners in the past.
For those without a magic medical marijuana card to get into these fine, upstanding businesses, you might want to look at this video of SPARC from CNBC. It's particularly notable because it's forbidden to take photos or video (or even to use your phone) inside SPARC.