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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Pot Club Would Be Downtown's First

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge medical_marijuana_by_neeta_lind_thumb_400x533.jpg
Earlier in the week, Socketsite pointed attention to 527 Howard Street -- just beneath the Bay Bridge -- where a new medical cannabis dispensary wishes to open up shop.

SF Weekly
visited with applicant Igor Khavin and toured the nascent Igzactly Health Solutions. Khavin will have his permit hearing today, and all looks well, but his effort to bring legal green to downtown was very nearly toppled by a single phone call.

Khavin is young dude from the East Coast, has a bad ankle injury which makes it difficult for him to walk (but not to snowboard, thanks to a device he built himself from motorcycle parts), he's a graduate of Oaksterdam University's Beverly Hills campus, and to save money while he waited for his permit to be approved, he's been living in the way, way East Bay -- as in the 209, in Stockton.

Since January, he's been paying about $6,000 a month on the first-floor space at 527 Howard, which looks mighty fine: the interior is clean and well-lit, with wood floors, high-ceilings and warm colors. There's track-lighting, no black lighting, and multiple display cases in which the medicine will be shown. In all, it feels like a classy or trendy snowboard shop, but we imagine that feeling will change somewhat when there's, you know, pot there.

Anyway, Khavin's permit application will be heard this afternoon at the Planning Department, but his case was very nearly thrown into question last week. He received a telephone call from the city planner assigned to his case who told him that an office suite in a nearby building might be enough to make a cannabis dispensary a prohibited use at 527 Howard.

That office suite contained something called the Youth Leadership Institute and according to a lawyer working on its behalf, the Youth Leadership Institute constituted a "clubhouse" or "community meeting space." Pot clubs need to be 1,000 feet away from those spaces under city planning code, meaning Khavin's proposed club would be illegal, rejected, and "I'd be living in a tent on Tehama," he said.

Khavin said he and his co-operaters had visited the supposed "clubhouse" and seen nothing more than a small office -- much smaller than 527 Howard -- with a couple chairs, but the phone call was enough for city planners to recommend he push back his hearing one more month -- and one more $6,000 rent check.

Planners visited the offending clubhouse, deemed it wasn't a clubhouse, and all systems appear to be set to go for Khavin, who was busily preparing his speech to planning commissioners when SF Weekly called.

"I wrote about three or four and ripped them all up," he said. "I'm just going to go in there and speak from the heart."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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