Supervisors amend regulations
on medical cannabis dispensaries
Legislation that extends grace periods to San Francisco medical
to come into compliance with new construction standards, was passed
by the board today.
The legislation was sponsored by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier.
By Emmett Berg
September 18, 2007
Legislators in San Francisco today updated an ordinance regulating
the permitted medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the city after
months of protracted negotiation over a lawmaker's push to force
new construction standards on the pot clubs.
On votes of 8-2 and 7-3 the Board of Supervisors pushed back
the grace period for clubs seeking city permits to March 1, 2008.
More than two-dozen now operate under permit in San Francisco.
The legislation amended health and planning codes and was sponsored
by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier.
It establishes stricter minimum disability access standards for
dispensaries as well as cleared the way for home delivery of marijuana
to patients in San Francisco who can provide a verifiable, written
recommendation from a physician for medical cannabis. Those delivery
only dispensaries, often located in a residence, were exempted
from the minimum disability access standards.
The split votes allowed Alioto-Pier to register a protest vote
after seeking stronger disability access provisions for ground-floor
dispensaries. Originally Alioto-Pier proposed getting the dispensaries
to bring disabled access standards up to what is demanded for
new construction in the city.
Disabled access standards apply to businesses citywide under
the direction of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
The decades-long process of implementing the Act has resulted
in improved access in modern structures but less so in older buildings
where narrow corridors and doors sometimes make retrofits difficult
If business owners demonstrate an unreasonable hardship they
can usually get by with less than fully modern disabled access
conditions until they make appreciable investments in improvements.
Applicants for permits to operate a dispensary must not have
been convicted of certain felonies and also must pay a $6,691
application fee. The amended codes say the Department of Health
will "make reasonable efforts to arrange" criminal background
checks through fingerprinting companies approved by the U.S. Department
of Justice. The applicant pays the cost of the checks.
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