S.F. Begins Issuing Medical Marijuana Dispensary Permits Again

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It's a go -- for now.
San Francisco has begun issuing medical marijuana dispensary licenses again, following a recent state Supreme court decision that will allow local pot dispensaries to do business -- for now.

The city's Medical Cannabis Act permitting process had been on hold for several months, following a state appeals court ruling in Pack vs. Long Beach. The ruling said that city or county laws regulating medical marijuana violated federal law; the decision led cities and counties throughout the state to suspend, reconsider, or repeal their regulatory schemes.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal, and while that's being considered, the lower court's ruling has become invalidated, a spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Friday. That means the Department of Public Health's medical marijuana permits can continue as normal, and several proposed San Francisco dispensaries waiting in the wings can finally receive city approval to do business.

But there's rumors that the Justice Department is considering suing cities that regulate state-legal marijuana. If that happens, it could be game over -- again.
But this state court decision hasn't had nearly the impact of the United States Attorneys' coordinated crackdown, which has forced hundreds of dispensaries in San Diego, Sacramento, and the Bay Area to close. Not every city or county in California halted permitting pot clubs as a result of the court decision -- Oakland, for example, charged ahead with reviewing applications for up to four new permits in the city.

Nonetheless, San Francisco will "continue processing permits under the City ordinance, pending a decision by the Supreme Court," City Attorney spokesman Jack Song wrote in an e-mail. "Department of Public Health has resumed its processing of permits."

At least four new proposed medical marijuana dispensaries had hearings before the Planning Commission -- one of the last hurdles to clear before a new storefront pot club can begin business -- delayed because of the Pack decision, including three on Mission Street in the Excelsior District. The Green Cross -- which is currently delivery only -- has its permit hearing on Feb. 16, but has asked city planners to move it to an earlier date. The dispensary's hearing was originaly scheduled for October.

The outlier at this point is the Justice Department. Letters from U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag have led five San Francisco dispensaries to shut their doors. An anonymous source told California Watch's Michael Montgomery that Haag was considering suing Mendocino County, which issues licenses and collects permit inspection fees for growers of up to 99 plants under county law. There was fear that the Pack decision would suspend that program -- but the feds could end it entirely.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider its 9.31 program -- so named for the section of civil code which allows it -- at its meeting Tuesday.

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19 comments
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Seoinnovation3
Seoinnovation3

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We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome. We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients.  (All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40).  Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com/ 

Seoinnovation3
Seoinnovation3

-

We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome. We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients.  (All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40).  Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com/ 

Dcalvoman
Dcalvoman

This is heading in the right direction

Aaron Foster
Aaron Foster

Great job San Francisco.  A small beacon of reasonability in the midst of a foolish prohibition of a substance less harmful than many FDA approved medications and of course alcohol.  I strongly support law enforcement, but they seem to be misdirected from the top right now.  What might they do after a long day of raiding dispensaries...maybe head home for a few glasses of wine followed by an anti-anxiety med and a sleeping pill.  Don't worry none of those things can hurt you because the government thinks they are okay.

rsteeb
rsteeb

Cities should be suing the department of "Justice".  Schedule I Cannabis is a damned lie, and without constitutional authority.

Norman Gooding
Norman Gooding

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!

Oh please masters,,if you will build more prisons,,we will come.

Wrongwrong
Wrongwrong

Since when does the City Attorney's Office speak for DPH? Check your sources.

Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts

Hi Wrongwrong,

The Department of Public Health ceased issuing new MCD permits on advice from the City Attorney, which provides legal counsel for all city departments, including DPH. City departments follow legal advice from the City Attorney.

Thanks for reading.

Best,Chris

Bud Green
Bud Green

Want to take your chances on the Supreme Court and the Feds, or do something decisive in November to protect the rights of medical cannabis patients and caregivers? Time is short, and the need is great. http://www.regulatemedicalmari...

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

In addition to the many societal costs of prohibition, it has a long history of driving the spread of harder or more dangerous drugs.

* Poppies to morphine to heroine to krokodil

* Coca to cocaine to crack

* Ephedra to ephredrine to speed to methamphetamine

* Marijuana to skunk to dangerous synthetic concoctions such as 'spice' or 'bath salts'

* Mushrooms to ecstasy to 2CB/designers

At every step the reasons for the rise in popularity of the new form of the drug are one or more of the following: 

* It may easier to smuggle.

* It may be more addictive, thus compelling the buyer to return more frequently. 

* It may be cheaper to produce therefore yielding more profit. 

* Like a game of "whack a mole" a shutdown of producers in one area will mean business opportunities for another set of producers with a similar product.

Prohibition's distortion of the immutable laws of supply and demand subsidizes organized crime, foreign terrorists, corrupt cops & politicians and feeds the prejudices of self-appointed culture warriors. So called Tough-On-Drugs politicians have happily built careers on confusing drug prohibition's horrendous collateral damage with the substances that they claim to be fighting, while the big losers in this battle are everybody else, especially taxpayers. 

How come so many of us have been deluded into believing that big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices? 

Imagine if we were to chop down every single tree on the planet as a response to our failure to prevent tree-climbing accidents. That's what our misguided drug policy looks like. Isn't it time we all should up and told the government we're tired of being beaten and jailed so that pharmaceutical companies can poison and kill us for obscene profits?

Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!

Dcalvoman
Dcalvoman

Well put. Your points make sense. peace share your knowledge with others. this should be a post on its own.

Dcalvoman
Dcalvoman

Well put. Your points make sense. peace share your knowledge with others. this should be a post on its own.

John Lilly
John Lilly

The people voted. The people support medical marijuana. Why does Haag insist on acting like such a Fascist? Tough childhood??

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Good for San Fran, the state needs to stand up for the people, this isn't Washington DC, the feds have no business coming into the community and acting like animals.

Desk200
Desk200

In Obamas first election... He said he wouldnt waste any more federal money on Marijauna Laws or enforcement.  Thanks for the LIE Prez 

Dubbwest4
Dubbwest4

Marijuana should be sold and taxed like any other product in america people need to stop looking at it as a drug and start looking at it as just a plant if I wanted to grow some corn it wouldnt be a problem it should b the same with weed the only problem is the big guys in charge want to make as much money off it as possible but they cant figure out how. Sell it in gas stations vending machines make treats ect and put a sales tax on it like 10 cents to every dollar or gram idk just figure it out soon

Balh
Balh

Corn makes you fat. Weed gets you high. Big diff. Should be compared to alcohol not a grain.

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