A proposal for a medical marijuana club near Fisherman’s Wharf may result in the first new club since The City enacted limits on medical marijuana dispensaries last November.
Since the ordinances were adopted none of the applicants for a license have come as far as Kevin Reed, according to city officials.
The driving force behind the proposed club at 2701 Leavenworth St. is the founder of the medical marijuana dispensary Green Cross, which opened two years ago in Noe Valley and served roughly 3,500 patients. It shut its doors after being asked to move because it did not comply with the new zoning regulations.
After months of debate, the Board of Supervisors settled on regulations that limited when and where clubs could operate. The new regulations prohibited clubs from opening within 1,000 feet of a school, youth or neighborhood center or community clubhouse. It also limited patients to 1 ounce of marijuana per visit, instead of the previously allotted 1 pound. There are 11,000 patients and roughly 29 clubs in San Francisco.
To earn a license, applicants must first be approved by the Planning Department, and also have security checks done by the police and fire departments before seeking final approval from the Public Health Department. Cannabis clubs are illegal under federal law, but Californians passed Proposition 215 in November 1996, which allowed patients to use medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor.
According to Aaron Starr, of the Planning Department, most of the applicants were turned down because they did not complete their applications or could not find a properly zoned location.
Some neighbors, including the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Association Center, are already raising red flags about the Leavenworth location, as it sits just blocks away from Galileo High School. Currently a vacant restaurant would be the first cannabis club near the wharf.
Some have already sent complaints to the Planning Department, although Starr said he has received supportive e-mails from patients as well.
Reed says he has been proactively meeting with neighborhood groups in the hope of alleviating their fears. He has already presented his plan to the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchant’s Association and is scheduled to meet with the North Beach Merchant’s Association today. He says the meetings have gone well and neighbors’ concerns are focused on security and parking problems.
“One of the things that the Green Cross was adamant about was that they were going to provide security cameras … and the very fact that they have to provide those cameras is what everyone is nervous about,” said Rodney Fong, the president of the Fisherman’s Wharf Neighborhood Association.
He added that neighbors are not opposed to the club at this point but are still in the fact-checking stage.
The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the application July 13. If approved, the Public Health Department will follow with another hearing in 10 days.