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Reed to appeal pot club decision

Bay City News Service

July 15, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The attorney representing a man who had hoped to open a medical marijuana dispensary near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf said yesterday that Kevin Reed will appeal the San Francisco Planning Commission's decision to turn down his application for a pot club permit.

Reed had hoped to open a cannabis dispensary at 2701 Leavenworth St., a stone's throw away from the popular tourist destination Fisherman's Wharf.

Up until March, Reed operated a dispensary called The Green Cross on Fair Oaks Street in the Mission District, Joe Elford said.

Pot clubs began to appear in San Francisco after California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, allowing patients with permission from a doctor to purchase medical marijuana.

There are around 24 pot clubs operating in the city at present, Elford estimated.

In November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors amended and unanimously passed the city's first set of medical marijuana regulations, allowing dozens of clubs in the city to remain open, albeit under stricter guidelines.

Elford said he didn't hear an overwhelming amount of concern Thursday evening from community residents near the proposed Leavenworth Street site about pot club clientele or about drugs being bought and then re-sold on the street.

Rather, the opposition centered on a "technical argument," that the dispensary shouldn't be allowed to open within 1,000 feet of any recreation area open to the public.

Opponents pointed to a rowing club and a senior center within 1,000 feet of 2701 Leavenworth St. in support of their argument, he said.

"If those are the criteria, then there's nowhere in the city a dispensary can open," he said.

The Planning Commission "is going to have to make some very difficult calls in the future," he said.

The Green Cross has a significant following because it can provide quality services to its patients, Elford said. The Mission District dispensary served as many as 200 to 300 customers at its peak, before the stricter rules were introduced, while a typical day saw around 50 customers, he said.

Reed's appeal process to the San Francisco Board of Permit Appeals will last around two months, Elford said. Reed has 15 days from the date his application is formally rejected to file an appeal. A hearing is then scheduled within 45 days of the appeal date.

If the appeal to open a cannabis club at the Leavenworth Street site doesn't pan out, Reed is likely to look for another line of work, Elford said.

"There are absolutely no plans to look elsewhere," for an alternate to the Leavenworth Street site, he said.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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