Pubdate: Fri, 25 Feb 2005
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Section: Page F - 1
Copyright: 2005 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Rachel Gordon
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Nearly three dozen medical marijuana clubs operate in San Francisco, but 
city officials have yet to regulate them. That may change.

This week, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi requested a hearing to discuss issues 
and policies related to Proposition S, the 2002 voter-approved measure that 
directed the city to explore growing and distributing pot for medicinal 
uses. Specifically, Mirkarimi wants the hearing to focus on licensing 
medical marijuana clubs, regulating them through zoning restrictions and 
setting up consumer protection guidelines. Supervisor Bevan Dufty held a 
similar hearing in 2003 to look at the city's options.

"I want us to get a handle on the growing number of clubs in San 
Francisco," Mirkarimi said. "Now the city has a complete hands-off policy."

And that may be for good reason. Growing and distributing marijuana, for 
medical use or not, still isn't allowed by federal authorities and could 
put the city at legal risk.

"Does Mirkarimi remember it's still 'The George Bush Show'?" remarked one 
city official following the local twists and turns of medical marijuana.

Mirkarimi is well aware of the concerns, but said it's worth seeing what, 
if anything, the city can do to move the issue forward. Not only does he 
think it would be beneficial from a consumer standpoint to have standards 
in place, but the city also may be able to cash in through licensing fees 
or tapping into the distributors' profits, he said.

Tens of millions of dollars reportedly change hands in the local medical 
marijuana clubs, which Mirkarimi described as a growing cottage industry.

Dial "M" for mayor: So a hacker got into the list of phone numbers stored 
in celebrity Paris Hilton's cell phone and posted them on the Internet. 
Included in the cache was Mayor Gavin Newsom's cell phone number -- not 
that the mayor is likely to answer when it rings. Hundreds, if not 
thousands, of people already have his mobile number, and he's become adept 
at screening calls with a quick glance at the caller's number.

More newsworthy than his cell phone number would be if Newsom's home number 
had been publicized. Unlike his predecessor, Willie Brown, Newsom's home 
phone isn't listed. And he's not alone among the city's elected officials.

Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier and Gerardo 
Sandoval also keep their home numbers unlisted, though like the mayor, all 
can be reached or receive messages at City Hall.

Ammiano got an unlisted home a number of years ago when he served on the 
school board and received threatening calls. He never went back to listing 
it, but said he doesn't think it's been a problem. Not only does he 
prodigiously check his messages at the office, but "when a constituent 
wants to find you, they can find you," he said, noting that he's stopped 
regularly by people on the bus and in the supermarket.

The home phone numbers for Mirkarimi, Dufty and Supervisors Chris Daly, 
Sophie Maxwell and Aaron Peskin can be found in the white pages. Fiona Ma 
is listed, too, but calling the number sends you directly to her home fax. 
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick is in the book, but under "John L. McGoldrick," 
his given name.

Peskin said he gets called at home all the time, once by a constituent 
complaining about a store selling armadillo meat in Chinatown. Peskin said 
he did what any good politician would do: "I dutifully called the health 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth