Popular medical marijuana event kiboshed by SF

A customer takes a whiff of Buddha's Pantry's marijuana from Brandy Turnbull (left) at the "Get Baked Sale" held at SOMAStreat Food Park on 11th Street, Saturday, June 13, 2015 in San Francisco. The event included food trucks and various booths promoting their companies. There were the typical edibles like cookies and brownies as well as the more innovative products like marijuana infused olive oil. Over 25 local businesses hosted the event. Photos by Gabrielle Lurie/Special to the S.F. Examiner.
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The organizer of a popular event last month in San Francisco that offered medical marijuana cookies, brownies and drinks for sale to the public will have to go elsewhere to host the event again.

The Get Baked Sale drew over 1,000 vendors and attendees to SoMa StrEat Food Park on June 13. For $20, attendees could chow down on a cannabis-infused pancake breakfast, and browse the wares of vendors who offered their marijuana-laced treats for sale. It was so successful that organizer Jared Stratton planned a follow-up event for Aug. 1.

That follow-up feast is permanently on hold, and the future of all cannabis-related “pop-up” events in San Francisco is in doubt after the event drew attention from officials with the Department of Public Health. They have advised that the event is illegal under city law.

The department, which regulates The City’s roughly 30 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, has informed Stratton that sales of medical marijuana in The City require a medical cannabis dispensary, or MCD, permit.

Without an MCD permit, no sales of cannabis are allowed, said Larry Kessler, the health inspector who oversees dispensaries.

Medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law. State medical marijuana law says a California resident with a serious medical condition can acquire cannabis after receiving a recommendation from a physician, but is unclear on exactly how to obtain the drug.

There are no statewide cannabis regulations, which are left up to municipalities to decide.

Under San Francisco law, cannabis “has to be dispensed at a dispensary … or at someone’s home or place of work via delivery,” said Kessler, who e-mailed dispensaries warning them not to participate in the next event. “Those are the only places it can be distributed, period.”

That law is in Article 33 of the Health Code, a civil, not criminal, law. San Francisco law enforcement does not involve itself with regulating dispensaries.

The Get Baked Sale claimed to have an existing dispensary as a sponsor. That dispensary, which requested anonymity, claims that it operated a vending table at the event that sold T-shirts and not cannabis, and was never a sponsor.

Two dispensaries identified as sponsors of the next event have pulled out, said Stratton.

Stratton had planned one event a month through December. He said the August event may yet go on, but after August and possibly in Oakland.

“You can never trust The City, is the message,” Stratton told the San Francisco Examiner. “I’m scared to work with The City now.”

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