|Roughly equivalent to a medical marijuana dispensary? The Mayor’s Office in San Francisco seems to think so.|
Nobody in the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee seems willing to take responsibility for a city document which refers to medical marijuana dispensaries as “nuisance retail” and likens them to strip clubs and liquor stores.
That’s the terminology used in a document released last year by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and that document is now being used by the Planning Department as a reason to deny a permit to a medicinal cannabis collective proposed for a vacant building in an alley off Sixth Street, reports Chris Roberts at SF Weekly.
It’s unclear how and why the “nuisance” reference ended up in that official city document. “For now, nobody at City Hall appears willing to own up to calling pot clubs nuisances or comparing them to strip clubs,” writes Roberts.
|Chris Roberts, SF Weekly: “There’s a vague reference to a need to reduce crime, but no statistics or definition of a ‘nuisance’ is given, and the notion that pot clubs equal crime has been exploded time and time again”|
The Mayor’s spokeswoman, Christine Falvey, directed the SF Weekly to the Department of Public Health. But DPH took exception to the notion that it would call medical facilities which it licenses a “nuisance.”
“We would not use that kind of judgmental language,” said DPH spokeswoman Eileen Shields, who referred the Weekly back to — you guessed it — the Mayor’s office. “At a risk of being a nuisance ourselves, SF Weekly emailed Falvey again, who did not respond,” Roberts said.
The good news, according to Roberts, is that licensed dispensaries are only considered “nuisances” near Market Street between Fifth and 10th streets, at least according to the Central Market Economic Strategy, released last November after 10 months of preparation.
The bad news is that the collectives — which provide cannabis to patients including those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and debilitating pain — are put into the same category as “liquor stores, adult uses,” and “pawn shops.”
The sole basis for declaring dispensaries a “nuisance” appears on one line on page 35 of the 52-page report, in section D under the heading “Objective 6) Improve Safety.”
“There’s a vague reference to a need to reduce crime, but no statistics or definition of a ‘nuisance’ is given, and the notion that pot clubs equal crime has been exploded time and time again,” Roberts writes.
The applicant for the rejected dispensary, which would have been located at 471 Jessie Street, is one Troy Kashanipour, according to city records. Kashanipour, an architect, is represented by attorney Daniel Bornstein, who’s worked for other cannabis clients including Medithrive, one of the five dispensaries shut down since November by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
San Francisco currently has 22 city-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, down from 26 last year and 40-something in 2005, before the city passed its Medical Cannabis Act regulatory ordinance.