Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jan 2011
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2011 SF Newspaper Company LLC
Author: Chris Roberts
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Delivery Service Claims 19 Competitors Operate Illegally Within City

The owner of a legal medical cannabis delivery service is asking The 
City to crack down on the growing legion of unlicensed competitors 
horning in on his territory.

In a letter sent this week to members of the Board of Supervisors, 
City Attorney Dennis Herrera and District Attorney George Gascon, 
Kevin Reed -- president of delivery service The Green Cross, which 
holds a city license and pays taxes -- identifies 19 delivery 
services that claim to offer marijuana to San Francisco-based patients.

None of the 19 identified by Reed has registered for a city license 
to sell medical marijuana in San Francisco, according to the 
Department of Public Health.

"We believe the proliferation of so many unregulated delivery 
services that do not have to play by the rules is a slap in the face 
to our city," wrote Reed, who also sits on The City's Medical 
Cannabis Task Force.

Reed and other members of the task force want city leaders to enact 
legislation that would require anyone providing medical marijuana 
inside city limits to be regulated and pay taxes, or be shut down if 
they do not.

Under San Francisco's 2005 Medical Cannabis Ordinance, anyone 
providing pot to 10 or more patients inside city limits must undergo 
a lengthy application process, which includes criminal background 
checks. Vendors must pay at least $8,656 to The City for a 
delivery-only permit, such as Reed's, and show proof they are paying 
taxes to the state.

But many mobile pot sellers are apparently skirting those rules 
because those businesses are based outside The City. Public health 
officials say they cannot regulate out-of-town delivery services.

"The regulatory ordinance did not anticipate delivery-only businesses 
outside of The City," Dr. Rajiv Bhatia of the Department of Public 
Health, which is tasked with regulating The City's pot clubs, said in 
a statement. "It does not allow a level playing field."

One of the out-of-town vendors cited by Reed is Northstone Organics 
of Ukiah, which advertises its services on the Web. Northstone 
Organics' president, Matthew Cohen, said he has actually tried to run 
a legal business in San Francisco, but did not receive assistance 
from city officials.

Cohen said he has licenses from Mendocino County, which accounts for 
"every gram of medicine" grown and sold by his company. He said that 
unlike San Francisco, Oakland allows out-of-town businesses to obtain 
a special delivery-only license.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom