Officials float fewer limits on recreational pot


Some state and local elected officials Wednesday called for less restrictive regulations for adult cannabis use in San Francisco.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, San Francisco Democratic Party Chair David Campos and three members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, among others, spoke at a press conference at 10 a.m. on the steps of City Hall.

San Francisco city officials are preparing to approve new regulations and permit requirements for the budding marijuana industry as the state moves toward fully legalizing adult cannabis use, but the plans remain a work in progress.

So many conflicting amendments were made to the original legislation authored by Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and Mayor Ed Lee that the Board of Supervisors has put together two different versions of the legislation.

The original legislation authored by Sheehy and Lee included a minimum radius ban of 600 feet around any public or private school, as required by state law.

Today’s press conference was sparked by another proposal that would expand the proposed barrier around schools from 600 feet to 1,000 feet and include childcare centers as part of the exclusion.

“This would effectively ban cannabis businesses in almost all of San Francisco” because The City is honeycombed with schools and childcare centers, said Jeff Cretan, a spokesman for Wiener:

“There is also a series of specific neighborhood amendments. One would ban all cannabis retail in Chinatown.”

The various pieces of legislation could be voted on by the board as early as next Tuesday, Cretan said.

Supervisor Malia Cohen said:

“The proposed land use restrictions significantly undermine the goal of the equity program – restoration for, and investment in, communities disproportionately harmed by the failed drug war.”

Sheehy and Supervisor Hillary Ronen also attended the press conference.

Wiener said:

“Cities across California are looking to San Francisco to be a model on how to do this right, and if we descend into a Reefer Madness approach to cannabis, treating it like some poisonous substance, it will give less open-minded communities an excuse to follow suit.”

The City is moving to establish the regulations following the approval last year of Prop. 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use in California.

The regulations need to be in place before Jan. 1 when full legalization takes effect, officials have said. Unless there is a regulatory framework for businesses to sell cannabis for adult use, and to cultivate and deliver cannabis when it becomes legal Jan. 1, these businesses will not be able to operate in San Francisco, according to elected officials.

Repeated attempts to reach representatives of a group of San Francisco residents who are calling for enforcement of federal laws on cannabis were unsuccessful.

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