Pubdate: Tue, 14 Nov 2017
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
Copyright: 2017 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Contact: P.O. Box 1909, Seattle, WA 98111-1909
Author: Janie Har


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Supervisors in famously pot-friendly San
Francisco are under pressure from cannabis advocates to pass
regulations that would allow the industry to flourish once
recreational sales become legal throughout California in January.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up
proposed regulations Tuesday, when they may vote on a stop-gap measure
to allow the sale of recreational cannabis through existing medical
marijuana outlets on Jan. 1. That would give them time to figure out
where to allow new stores.

But California state senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat and former
supervisor from San Francisco, urged against the measure, saying it
would stifle competition.

He issued a stinging statement with former supervisor David Campos,
who is now chair of the city's Democratic Party, Tuesday saying the
board is bowing to anti-cannabis pressure and "getting dangerously
close to destroying" an industry embraced by most of the city.

It's been surprisingly difficult to write local cannabis rules as
critics, many of them older Chinese immigrants who oppose marijuana
use, try to restrict where pot can be sold in a city that celebrates
the 4/20 marijuana holiday with a group smoke-out on Hippie Hill.

The possibility of overly strict regulations has businesses fretting
over access and some San Franciscans wondering what happened to the
counter-culture, anti-Prohibition city they know and love. The smell
of cannabis being smoked is not uncommon in certain neighborhoods and

"Let's be honest: Cannabis is effectively legal now and the sky hasn't
fallen. A lot of the information people have been given is completely
false," said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who uses medical marijuana to
mitigate pain from older HIV medications.

Cannabis advocates prefer a 600-foot (183-meter) buffer from schools,
comparable to the radius required of stores that sell liquor or tobacco.

But some Chinese-American organizations have pushed back, calling for
an outright prohibition on retail stores in San Francisco's Chinatown.
They want future retail stores to be at least 1,500 feet (460 meters)
away from schools, child-care centers and any other place minors gather.

Ellen Lee, family social worker at the nonprofit San Francisco
Community Empowerment Center, which has helped lead the protests, said
most of the people opposed to recreational cannabis are elderly and
speak little to no English. She said children are impressionable and
must be protected from a drug that remains illegal under federal law,
and she is frustrated by elected officials.

"We have been meeting with them and talking to them," she said, "but
they are not listening."

Chinese-Americans are an integral part of San Francisco's history and
they carry political clout in a city where one-third of its 850,000
residents are Asian and Chinese-Americans are the largest Asian
sub-group. The mayor is Chinese-American, as are other elected
officials in the city.
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