San Fran­cisco su­per­vi­sors de­lay vote on pot reg­u­la­tion

The Mercury News - - Obituaries & In Memoriams - By Janie Har The As­so­ci­ated Press AP writer Michael R. Blood con­trib­uted from Los An­ge­les.

SAN FRAN­CISCO >> San Fran­cisco su­per­vi­sors de­layed vot­ing Tues­day on pro­posed pot reg­u­la­tions, mak­ing it more un­likely that peo­ple in this weed-friendly city will be able to buy recre­ational pot when adult use be­comes le­gal Jan. 1 in Cal­i­for­nia.

Su­per­vi­sors have had a hard time fash­ion­ing lo­cal rules for pot shops as older mem­bers of the Chi­nese im­mi­grant com­mu­nity have come out against plac­ing re­tail stores too close to schools, day care cen­ters and any­where else that chil­dren might gather.

Tues­day’s board meet­ing in San Fran­cisco was emo­tional, with some su­per­vi­sors ar­gu­ing to get tem­po­rary rules on the books for the first day of le­gal sales while oth­ers urged the board to take more time to make the reg­u­la­tions right.

San Fran­cisco Su­per­vi­sor Malia Co­hen urged the board to hold off un­til it could meet again in two weeks, say­ing a stop­gap mea­sure to al­low ex­ist­ing mar­i­juana out­lets to sell recre­ational weed Jan. 1 would only ben­e­fit ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tors, who are not African-Amer­i­cans, vet­er­ans, women or other tra­di­tion­ally marginal­ized groups.

“Do­ing this en­sures that the fi­nal leg­is­la­tion passed is thought­ful, cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive and the best leg­is­la­tion for the city of San Fran­cisco,” Co­hen said.

Su­per­vi­sor Aaron Pe­skin said pass­ing the tem­po­rary mea­sure would give the board more time to hash out rules and send a sig­nal that San Fran­cisco “is ready to en­ter the dawn of the 21st cen­tury.”

Recre­ational pot might be avail­able in San Fran­cisco in the first week of Jan­uary, if of­fi­cials meet a tight time­line re­quir­ing the mayor’s quick ap­proval. It could also be ready Jan. 1 if su­per­vi­sors meet in spe­cial ses­sions.

San Fran­cisco isn’t the only Cal­i­for­nia city strug­gling with lo­cal per­mits, which grow­ers and re­tail­ers need in or­der to ap­ply for a state li­cense. Los An­ge­les is still work­ing on its rules.

The state ex­pects to re­lease emer­gency reg­u­la­tions later this month and has said it will be­gin is­su­ing tem­po­rary li­censes on New Year’s Day.

Lori Ajax, the state’s top state mar­i­juana reg­u­la­tor, has said she doesn’t know how many grow­ers or re­tail­ers will come for­ward to seek li­censes. It’s a crit­i­cal ques­tion, since the state’s le­git­i­mate pot sales could be un­der­cut by il­le­gal op­er­a­tors.

Jeff Sheehy, a San Fran­cisco su­per­vi­sor who uses med­i­cal mar­i­juana to mit­i­gate pain from older HIV med­i­ca­tions, pleaded with the board to adopt the tem­po­rary mea­sure.

“Tak­ing the time to get the piece right makes a lot of sense, but not hav­ing some­thing avail­able on Jan. 1 makes us look bad,” he said.

He and other cannabis ad­vo­cates pre­fer a 600foot buf­fer zone be­tween pot shops and schools, com­pa­ra­ble to the dis­tance now re­quired for stores that sell liquor or tobacco.

Some Chi­nese-Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tions have pushed back, call­ing for an out­right pro­hi­bi­tion on re­tail stores in San Fran­cisco’s Chi­na­town. They want fu­ture re­tail stores to be at least 1,500 feet away from schools, child care cen­ters and any other places where mi­nors gather.

Sev­eral su­per­vi­sors ex­pressed out­rage at the way cannabis ad­vo­cates have char­ac­ter­ized Chi­nese op­po­nents, call­ing the com­ments overtly racist and in­tol­er­ant.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

San Fran­cisco su­per­vi­sors de­layed vot­ing Tues­day on pro­posed mar­i­juana reg­u­la­tions. Some mem­bers of the Chi­nese im­mi­grant com­mu­nity op­pose plac­ing re­tail shops too close to schools and other places chil­dren might gather.

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