If San Francisco wasn’t already one of the cities with perhaps the most civil liberties in the US, the city supervisors today voted on approving rules which allow recreational marijuana sales in stores.
Late on Tuesday, November 28th, city supervisors approved the rules which allow sales when recreational marijuana becomes legal state-wide in January.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted for a 600-foot (180-meter) no-cannabis-sales zone, a rule upon which city’s Chinese immigrant community strongly objected to, saying that the barrier should be even bigger.
The same board rejected a proposition which would allow certain neighborhoods to limit the number and even out ban them outright. Pro-cannabis advocates opposed this proposition.
Small marijuana businesses are safe
The ruling on cannabis sales was long awaited by cannabis advocates as now they know for certain what will be the future of marijuana businesses in the city.
Businesses can now start, or continue, preparing for the legalization in January knowing they won’t be prosecuted by anyone.
All but one supervisor voted for approving, except for Ahsha Safai who thinks the board had not had enough time to hash out sensitive issues, such as neighborhood input and local zoning.
“This is the issue that divides the board,” he said, “this is the issue that divides this city.”
Little time to prepare
Even though the legalization is bound to hit the streets on January 1st cities and counties are still struggling to devise regulations for local permits that growers or retailers need for state permits.
Palm Springs and San Diego have been well on their way in preparations, and have announced that they will be ready for legalization, while LA will need more time to adjust.
San Francisco officials have announced that they won’t be ready to start with sales on New Year’s day, but more likely in the first week of 2018.
Sales start on January 5th
City attorney spokesman John Cote said that the legislation will most likely go into effect on January 5th if Mayor Ed Lee signs that same day.
If mayor Lee signs the marijuana legislation, cannabis sales could start as soon as the following midnight.
The Board of Supervisors is yet to vote again on December 5th, next Tuesday, which will be the final vote as well.
Mayor Lee would need to sign the legislation Dec. 5 after the board votes on it a second time.
Spokeswoman Ellen Canale said he will sign when it comes to his desk, but since they are trying to get to the market as soon as possible, that might be on the same day.
The city has more than 40 authorized medical marijuana dispensaries which can start selling recreational weed in the new year.
Most of them are located in the city’s gritty South of Market district near downtown.