The 1,000-foot rule for marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco dictates that pot clubs cannot operate with 1,000 feet of a school, playground, recreational center, or substance abuse treatment facility. (Though the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors may reduce that to a 600-foot rule) This creates little gluts of dispensaries in certain eligible areas, like the Outer Mission stretch dubbed “Dispensary Row”. A possible new Dispensary Row is creating a row in Vistacion Valley, where the Chronicle reports that residents are none too pleased with possibility of two dispensaries on the same block.
San Francisco currently has 36 medical marijuana dispensaries, with another 25 dispensary applications in the Planning Commission pipeline. On top of all that, a couple dozen more “letters of determination” have been submitted to Planning to assess the suitability of certain sites. Each of these aspiring dispensaries-to-be is assuming medical dispensaries will get grandfathered in for conversion into recreational-use dispensaries when adult over-the-counter sales become legal on January 1, 2018, per the passage of Prop. 64. The city has a deadline of September 1 to make that determination.
In January, the Planning Commission approved a dispensary permit for 2442 Bayshore Boulevard, the former Connie Hair Salon. Tonight the Planning Commission will consider another dispensary permit at 5 Leland Avenue which is essentially on the very same Visitacion Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard block which would require an additional permit because it’s within 500 feet with another approved dispensary.
“We have a lot of needs in this community — maybe a clothing store, a bookstore, stores for children, sporting goods,” retired schoolteacher and Vis Valley neighborhood activist Marlene Tran told the Chronicle. “Things that we can all patronize. Having a [medical cannabis dispensary] at the entrance to our commercial district will not benefit most people.”
Further, some locals feel that the 1,000-foot rule is being applied in lax fashion to their neighborhood as opposed to more upscale areas. They argue that two Vis Valley facilities the Asian Pacific American Community Center and the Cross Cultural Family Center are youth centers and should have automatically disqualified the dispensaries’ permit applications.
“There is a double standard,” attorney Teresa Li told the Chron. “Why is it OK to open a [dispensary] on Leland Avenue next to a child-care facility but not on Post Street? That is why we are seeing a concentration of (dispensaries) in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Our children don’t seem to matter as much.”
Reps from the potential 5 Leland Avenue dispensary counters that they’re finally bringing some action to a long-vacant space, and adding 15 new jobs to the neighborhood.
Pot patient and advocate David Goldman says Visitacion Valley ought to welcome dispensaries into empty, dilapidated storefronts on Bayshore Boulevard. ”They should be thrilled. There is not much going on in that neighborhood,” Goldman told the Chronicle. “They could use a few more businesses.”
Related: Girl Scouts Challenge Weed Dispensary To Fundraiser, Winner Gets The Cookies