Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Must Release Names, Addresses of Pot Growers, City Says

Categories: Marijuana
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The Green Scare
Medical marijuana patients don't seem to care where exactly their cannabis is grown. As long as the pot has been lab-tested and is free of mold and pesticides, they're satisfied.

But that information alone is no longer enough for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. DPH, which licenses and polices 26 storefront cannabis collectives, announced on Friday that it will ask every dispensary to provide a list -- with names and addresses -- of every grower with which it does business.

The result would be a catastrophe for the city's burgeoning medical marijuana industry, according to Kevin Reed, president of The Green Cross medical cannabis delivery service.

"It's unacceptable," he says.

But there is a good reason for this master list: safety and legality, according to Rajiv Bhatia, head of DPH's Occupational & Environmental Health.

"DPH is trying to ensure that permitted MCDs comply with all state and local laws," Bhatia said in a statement. "By ensuring this, the industry will be best situated to be protected from code enforcement and criminal prosecution."

That's not how the city's medical cannabis cultivators see it. A master list of names and addresses, available to anyone -- including the federal government and common crooks?

"It would be a disaster," Reed tells SF Weekly.

This "list" would push legal operators underground while doing nothing to change the habits of illegal growers. If the list were publicly available, it would do nothing more than advertise to allcomers -- criminals as well as neighbors -- the locations and sizes of legal pot grows.

Not every dispensary will be able to afford to run a grow the size necessary to supply all of its medicine. And not every group of patients will be able to shell out for the costly DPH permits and inspection fees. That means the quantity and quality of legal marijuana will decrease -- and with less competition, growers say the price will go up for patients.

And what if federal law enforcement could easily access this public list? "There's no way anyone on the city or state level can provide us protection from the federal government," Reed says.

That's not all. Soon, all dispensaries will be forced to operate their own grow sites, which will have to be legally tied to a dispensary. That might not sound like a big deal since tomato farmers, for example, grow and then sell their wares at a farmers' market. But it won't work for medical cannabis, Reed says.

"I don't want to be the grower and the seller -- that's too much," he says.

But why is the city's Health Department now concerned about whether dispensaries comply with state and local law -- more than a decade after the city passed its Medical Cannabis Dispensary Act?

Here are some of the theories: taxes, police, and an industry takeover.

Reed believes that DPH wants a list of all the city's legal grow sites so that it can eventually slap them with taxes. Possibly. But that doesn't explain why the city wants addresses of grow sites located outside San Francisco. And we don't know either, because DPH officials did not respond to that point.

Other growers are convinced that DPH is being pushed by the San Francisco Police Department, which has proven incapable of distinguishing between legal and illegal grows. Finally, conspiracy theorists think the stricter regulations would make it easier for a select few mega-operators to overtake the industry.

But what's most disturbing is that there is nothing in state or local law that explicitly says dispensaries must produce lists calling out federal-law-breaking cultivators.

"I understand DPH's frustration of being thrust into the middle of this confusing and contradictory system, but there is way too much risk to force full transparency in cultivation," says Brendan Hallinan, an attorney who handles permitting for medical marijuana collectives. "After the federal government specifically told Oakland 'no way' on their permitted-cultivation sites, it is ridiculous to ask SF MCDs to go right ahead and do the same thing."

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31 comments
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Drgreenthumb1976
Drgreenthumb1976

I guess I could play devils advocate here on this one coming from an agricultural background, anyone growing or that handles the produce or the end item of a manufactured product but be able to be traced back to its origin in case people become sick or heaven forbid die from unsanitary work conditions this would aid in recalls an speed up the process in finding where the "bad crop" is coming from. Do I believe there is another hidden agenda to this.. Hell yes as I believe the day is long.. But all agricultural business have lot numbers that can be traced to a certain farmer an area..

Toxic Avenger
Toxic Avenger

This is a lie and it is spreading for no reason.

Elizabeth frantes
Elizabeth frantes

Let's keep in mind that the interest by City Hall, DPH, and politicians in medical pot has always been fiduciary.  So long as the dispensaries keep handing over money, who cares if most of them have to shut because they can't afford all the taxes and fees?  Patients?  Who cares about poor sick people?   It's about more money for Tommyknocker, Leno, et al.  And until our leaders TAKE POT OF THAT IDIOTIC SCHEDULE LAW, growers are all subject to Federal arrest.  OUr leaders who feel fit to tell the Feds and other nations what to do, who think they should tell people what to eat, etc for some reason can't tell the DEA to SMEG OFF AND DIE? 

Tony Aroma
Tony Aroma

I believe such a law would be unconstitutional.  In order to comply with one law, you cannot be required to incriminate yourself.  That's why the Marijuana Tax Act was repealed.  If a grower registers for a public list, they are publicly admitting to being in violation of federal law.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Point of information: the Marihuana (sic) Tax Act was never repealed. The MTA was overturned by the US Supreme Court in the case of Leary v. United States.

Bennyfranklin
Bennyfranklin

When you buy a car, it comes with the all that anti-smog shit whether you like it or not. Welcome to the regulated masses.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

For fuck's sake, just LEGALIZE this shit already.

Joedell435
Joedell435

Legalize? Why turn it over to the megacorps? 

Joedell435
Joedell435

Call it what you want but I have never heard any arguments why giving the industry over to corporations is better than simple DECRIMINALIZATION, along with some sort of ceritfication or for quality growers.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

What a stupid argument.  Do you honestly think that makes sense?

Look at beer.  Yes, I could go and buy Budweiser.  But I could also brew beer at home.  Both are perfectly legal.  Why shouldn't I have the option to do both?

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Joedell43, that's the very definition of a slippery slope argument.  You should try sobering up before posting next time.

Joedell435
Joedell435

Because once Marlboro is in the game they will put all of the small growers out of business, quality will go down and it would cost you more to grow your own than to buy your "Marlboros" so new strain development will all but stop, indoor high grade will be gone. Just you watch, ten years from now we will all be talking about the good stuff we used to smoke in the 00's. There is a whole entire invisible economy in this industry, we just don't know how much it has helped us through these rough economic times, my guess is alot. America is already a Corporatocracy, wish we could keep them out of this one last bastion of freedom, mega corps have already destroyed enough Mom and Pop operations(bookstores, hardware stores, coffee shops...). And I doubt Marlboro would be hiring many of the growers from the field. Maybe we SHOULD turn it over to big corps in the name of safety and regulation but it will be a sad day for all of the honest indoor growers that put their heart into making GREAT flowers, and very bad for our economy, as we will lose touch with the estimated $50Billion a year that it currently generates.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

So Colorado's F-ed up unconstitutional language that has unreasonable and unacceptable Orwellian rules and regs have made their way (with Matt Cook-BEWARE), to CA--good luck to you all--Colorado's lists are being reviewed not only by local law enforcement but by the feds-- We are all screwed.  Do NOT let your name enter a database if you caregiver (grow).

CyberPuff
CyberPuff

if we be token, da be growing mon. All the rest is jest fucked up whitey guilty greed. Puff on you crazy diamonds puff on !!

Anonymous
Anonymous

What a coincidence,  Joseph Erich Pearson gets caught growing more than 934 plants for his dispensary and now SFDPH wants the list of growers.....

sfsoma
sfsoma

Rajiv Batia is a menace to San Francisco.  He has total nanny state mentality, backed up by the successor to the horrid Dr. Katz, Barbara Garcia.  DPH is in desperate need of new administrators, not re-tread of Katz.  The Health Commission didn't even bother to look for anyone just installed  Katz hand-picked successor, just like the 2 hospital administrators he installed.

JohnStoll2013
JohnStoll2013

They should file a 1099 on them like every other business is obligated to do.

Rick Shaw
Rick Shaw

Kevin Reed doesn't buy from growers. He finances his own growing operation. I'm a grower that wants nothing to do with the BS of the 'non-profit' clubs. Why does Green Cross charge so much when they grow their own,they don't even maintain a storefront,just overpriced deliveries.

This grower got smart. I deliver for half there price

Captainnachox3
Captainnachox3

You clearly haven't been to the Green Door. I'm glad I get $35 8th's from The Green Cross.

Kevin Reed
Kevin Reed

With all due respect to the public forum provided here and your right to express whatever you want, it's just plain wrong to say something that is inaccurate. You claim to know how our operation works, yet we've never met nor are you a member of our facility.

As President of The Green Cross, I can say unequivocally that I do not cultivate any cannabis for the collective. In strict compliance with state law, our member-patients cultivate the cannabis provided for and distributed among our patients.   My attorney would flip out if I took any more risk than is absolutely necessary.  

In point of fact, The Green Cross asks that our patient-cultivators grow exclusively for The Green Cross, which is where your comment may rise from.  But, so there is no confusion, we operate as a true collective/cooperative.  

Moreover, if you think it is cheaper to run a delivery-only MCD, then chances are you are not doing it right! Recall, I have operated a successful bricks & mortar store which was sacrificed in the regulations process.  Make no mistake, when done correctly, the costs are significantly greater with delivery.

Elizabeth frantes
Elizabeth frantes

Oh, give it up, Reed, your song is so tired!  Stop whining.  Your self centered creepiness is why no one wants to play with you.  Get over yourself, dearie.  You tried to undercut the dispensaries when you couldn't get one . . charged more for pot even though you have so little overhead . .. and now you don't want others cutting into what you think is YOUR territory? 

J Matajr
J Matajr

That sounds like capitalist to me! And the new American way!

James
James

So you just 'connect' the grower with the buyer through your delivery service? That sounds like every other regular delivery business. What makes you a collective other than requiring buyers and growers to be members (even Costco requires membership)?

Kevin Reed
Kevin Reed

Our bylaws, our incorporation with the state as a public-benefit nonprofit corp., our delivery-only permit with the City of San Francisco, and our strict adherence to state and local laws are just a few of the things that separate what we do from those non-permitted, as you call them, businesses.   

FErnandof_32
FErnandof_32

Why are cigarette manufacturers not criminally responsible for the health hazards and deaths that they cause!Not to mention the cost to our health care system that 'republicans' are soooooooo concerned about!FernandoBrisbane CA

Ramsey Peter
Ramsey Peter

 thought Republicans want less government, not more

nunya
nunya

Too many shoddy growers prefer a totally unregulated secret sleep until noon lifestyle. Any regulation they will fight, just look at prop 19. And currently too many bad growers just take their mold covered crop to medical dispensaries that they know DO NOT TEST on purpose because they have been rejected from the testing dispensaries.

Who gets that mold weed?....unsuspecting sick people. And the growers are happy. Yet any time law enforcement comes around these same growers suddenly go hide behind sick people and claim they do it,"for the patients".

ALL other products on the market have a paper trail for LIABILITY purposes. To keep shoddy producers honest. Do not expect this crowd to want that.

Joeldell435
Joeldell435

Growers sleep till noon because they have to wait to turn the lights on until 6pm to get off peak rates. Many work hard at it and need some sort of regulation to separate their medicine from the mold infested swag of every John Dick and Harry Desperado that has decided to grow lately. But names and addresses??? Indoor marijuana costs a lot to produce, that value will always make it a target for robbers until the day it is all made by Marlboro.

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