Justice Department Closes Two More S.F. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Categories: Marijuana
So long, been good to know ya
The number of medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco will dip to a nearly 10-year low on Aug. 1, when two more permitted pot clubs will close under pressure from the federal Justice Department.

Vapor Room, located on Haight Street, and HopeNet, on Ninth Street, will both cease operations at the end of the business day on July 31, representatives from both dispensaries told SF Weekly.

Landlords of both dispensaries received letters from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in April, where she warned of property seizures or decades-long prison terms if the dispensaries were not shuttered.

The closures will mark the seventh and eighth storefront dispensaries shut down by Haag in under a year, which means San Francisco will have fewer than 20 licensed dispensaries for the first time in nearly a decade.

Martin Olive, Vapor Room's executive director said he is "unsure" what path the business will take. HopeNet will go delivery-only as of Aug. 1, the dispensary said.

A year ago, there were 26 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries operating in San Francisco. Haag's office has shut down six to date. A seventh pot club was put out of commission by a house fire. 

It's not entirely certain when the last time there were fewer than 20 dispensaries in San Francisco, but it has been at least eight years, if not longer. One new dispensary has opened, and several more have permits, but have not begun operation.

San Francisco began licensing and regulating medical cannabis dispensaries in 2005, nine years after California voters approved medical marijuana via the Compassionate Use Act. The state legislature approved storefront collectives in a 2003 bill. 

The state Board of Equalization and the city both collect sales taxes from dispensaries, which also pay more than $10,000 annually in permit fees.

At the time of regulation in 2005, there were more than 40 dispensaries in operation in San Francisco. The Medical Cannabis Act severely limited the area in which a dispensary could do business, setting strict limits on proximity to schools, parks, and residential neighborhoods.

Haag began shutting down San Francisco dispensaries last fall, when her office sent letters to select dispensaries deemed to be too close to parks or schools, despite the fact that they were in compliance with San Francisco zoning law.

The Department of Public Health, which oversees the regulation of San Francisco dispensaries, received very few complaints regarding medical marijuana clubs, according to records.

Follow us on Twitter @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly
My Voice Nation Help

If only libertarians ruled the USA, cannabis wild have been legal years ago as they would have ended this war on drugs which is the nanny states way of control GOV. JOHNSON 2012 He will make this Haag caracter do here real job and crack down on Meth and drug cartels


Maybe California could legalize assault rifles and sell them next to the dispensaries.

Rick Rosio
Rick Rosio

Why can there not be a common sense solution to this needless battle?

Moirai Weedist
Moirai Weedist

“Here's how you contact Haag and let her know what you think!http://www.weedist.com/2012/07/norcal-medical-marijuana-enemy-1-attorney-general-melinda-haag/Couple of fun facts on her wealth because we love when politicians and government agents talk about how dare dispensaries try to make a living: -Attorney General Melinda Haag earns $1.06 million annually from her partnership interest in the San Francisco legal firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. -Attorney General Melinda Haag has an approximate net worth of $7.7 million (assets are valued at $7.8 million, mostly from securities and her personal residence, and liabilities of $103,800).”

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.