Tuesday night saw a pretty action-packed final Board of Supervisors meeting before their five-week summer recess, but a couple of the decisions they made might not be to a stoner’s delight. Supervisor Malia Cohen introduced a 45-day moratorium on the approval of any new medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the Examiner. On top of that, Supervisor Ahsha Safai’s resolution banning new dispensaries in his District 11 passed, prompting 48 Hills’ Tim Redmond to note “I don’t think there are many other rules [in San Francisco] controlling development of one type of business in one specific district.”
Safai complained that his district, a portion of which has been nicknamed “Dispensary Row,” currently has three marijuana dispensaries. He noted that one applicant for a medical cannabis dispensary (MCD) was arrested on a murder-for-hire charge, and the pot shops in District 11 are “bars on the door” type facilities.
Now you just hold it right there, Sup. Safai. I live in District 11 and I frequent all three of these dispensaries. Yes, two of them (Mission Organic Center and Cookies SF, both on the 5200 block of Mission Street) do have jail-style entrances, and can be fairly described as somewhat seedy locations. But that Green Cross dispensary at 4218 Mission is one of the most exquisitely designed boutique dispensaries in town, and certainly has no bars on its doors.
Safai’s ban on District 11 dispensaries passed by a 9-2 vote, with only Supervisors Jane Kim and Sandra Fewer opposing. The 45-day citywide moratorium will be considered when the board convenes again in September.
These debates underscore how retail marijuana governance is such a tricky matter as legal, over-the-counter recreational sales loom January 1, 2018. The moratorium was recommended by the Planning Commission and being debated by the Board of Supervisors and it's been long predicted that existing medical dispensaries would like have the first claim to recreational sales because they're already in the business. But we also have a new San Francisco Office of Cannabis plus a Cannabis Legalization Task Force, all with no clear chain of command on which department has final say. It seems inevitable these bodies will have disagreements, and will attempt to puff and pass their own conflicting resolutions.