SF May Clamp Down on Medical Marijuana Zoning

Review and examination of medical marijuana laws in San Francisco is afoot.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013  |  Updated 12:37 PM PDT
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There are over 20 dispensaries in San Francisco, but too many in certain neighborhoods for some peoples' likings.

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A change is in the air in San Francisco.

It's medical marijuana, as in the zoning controls that dictate where the controversial medicine can go.

An elected official in the birthplace of the medical marijuana movement wants to examine the possibility of changing where people can go to purchase their state-legal medical cannabis, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Currently, San Francisco has zoning rules tougher than state rules but not quite as tough as rules in other Bay Area cities. Some, like Danville and Daly City, ban medical marijuana dispensaries outright, according to laws. Others, such as Oakland and Berkeley, limit the number of dispensaries allowed within city limits.

San Francisco does neither of those things -- nor does San Jose, where dispensaries have technically been delcared illegal, despite many operating in that city -- but zoning rules have declared about 90 percent of San Francisco off-limits to medical marijuana dispensaries, the Examiner reports.

In San Francisco, no medical marijuana dispensaries can operate within 1,000 feet of a school. State law calls for a 600-foot barrier.

That means that dispensaries tend to cluster in the select few areas where they are allowed by law. That lead to the concentration of clubs in the SoMa and Mission Districts, but no dispensaries in places like the Sunset, the newspaper reported.

Supervisor John Avalos, whose district is home to two dispensaries, is pushing for a change to the 2005 Medical Cannabis Act, which is the permitting structure for San Francisco's pot clubs, the newspaper reported.

The city's Planning Commission will review the law and deliver recommendations for changes to the Board of Supervisors under the proposal, the newspaper reported.

There are over 20 dispensaries in San Francisco, all of which pay state sales tax as well as local licensing fees.

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