Pubdate: Tue, 31 Jan 2012
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2012 SF Newspaper Company LLC
Author: Chris Roberts


San Francisco was the first city in California to license its 
dispensaries, with the passage of the Medical Cannabis Act in 2005.

San Francisco's medical cannabis dispensary program resumed licensing 
and inspecting medical marijuana collectives, Department of Public 
Health officials announced Monday. The move comes after the agency 
said last week that the application process was suspended.

Under clarified rules, existing dispensaries must sign a statement 
swearing that all medical marijuana sold on-site is cultivated in 
California and comes from a grower who is a member of the 
dispensary's nonprofit collective.

The health department is responsible for inspecting and permitting 
The City's 21 existing medical marijuana businesses and accepting 
applications for new clubs. New applications stopped being processed 
in December following a ruling in a state appeals court. In that 
case, Pack vs. the City of Long Beach, the court ruled that 
California cities violated federal law by regulating and permitting 
medical marijuana.

That ruling was vacated when the California Supreme Court agreed to 
hear an appeal, and San Francisco's city attorney gave the health 
department the green light to resume its program Jan. 20, but the 
department had announced last week that all applications were still 
on hold indefinitely.

Despite reviving the licensing and inspection program, some changes were made.

Several types of medical marijuana-laced food produced by companies 
outside San Francisco and sold at many dispensaries throughout the 
Bay Area are now banned at city dispensaries, according to a memo 
issued by Larry Kessler, a senior inspector at the health department 
who runs the dispensary program.

Dispensaries also "may not sell or distribute medical cannabis or 
medical cannabis products produced by commercial enterprises or by 
another collective/cooperative," Kessler wrote.

San Francisco became the first city in California to license 
dispensaries when the Board of Supervisors passed the Medical 
Cannabis Act in 2005.

The city currently has 21 such businesses, down from 26 a year ago. 
Sine November, five have closed after receiving warning letters from 
Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California.

The City's Planning Department is expected to hear two applications 
for new dispensaries in the Excelsior district at its Feb. 16 
meeting, including one that submitted its application more than a year ago.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom