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Friday, March 30, 2012

Medical Marijuana Ban in Daly City Means More Business for S.F. Pot Clubs

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 7:25 AM

click to enlarge ... and the gateway to San Francisco pot clubs
  • ... and the gateway to San Francisco pot clubs

It's not often that a police department will recommend a medical marijuana delivery service.

Yet the Daly City Police Department did just that this week, endorsing the Purple Dinosaur delivery service as a preferable alternative to permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in our neighbor to the south.

The Daly City Council listened, voting unanimously to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries -- which is good news, if you're a San Francisco pot club. With San Mateo County nearly bereft of legal weed, pot clubs located in San Francisco's southern neighborhoods -- where three just recently won permits -- will be free of competition.

And Daly City will be free from $500,000 in permit and tax revenue. Thank a Daly City cop next time you see one.

It's possible demographics can explain Daly City's reluctance to embrace legal weed, and to join some 170 other cities and counties in California in banning medical marijuana dispensaries.

In some ways, Daly City is a pioneer: It's one of only a handful of American cities with over 100,000 citizens to have a population that's majority Asian. For some reason, Asian folk have proved especially reluctant to embrace this particular herbal remedy, with a proposed pot club in the heavily Chinese Sunset District vociferously opposed by the neighborhood.

Or perhaps pot clubs just aren't popular on the farthest reaches of Mission Street. They're certainly not popular with Daly City Councilman David Canepa, who said he'd allow dispensaries in his town "over my dead body," according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Fair enough, but luckily, nobody had to die for the city to say "no thanks." What was odd, however, was police and politicians' argument that since there's already plenty of medical pot in and around Daly City, dispensaries should be banned.

For example, in its report to the City Council, cops said that 25 grow houses were investigated in Daly City, and that some "may already be supplying" other dispensaries. Of the city's 51 drug citations issued in 2011, seven were for illegal use of marijuana; and of the 723 drug and/or alcohol arrests in 2011, 59 were for marijuana. So not a major crime factor, but why take the risk?

"There are numerous locations where Daly City residents can purchase medical marijuana within a short distance," police wrote in the report. "The Purple Dinosaur Delivery Service is one of several dispensaries that will deliver to Daly City for free with a minimum purchase of $60 dollars [sic] or there is a $5 dollar delivery fee."

Pot clubs "also generate many other negative impacts such as high volumes of pedestrian and vehicle traffic," police wrote. "If a medical marijuana dispensary was located on Mission Street, it would most likely have a negative impact on local businesses, Jefferson High school, and the community."

In officially directing pot patients with San Mateo County addresses to San Francisco, Daly City officials note that "36 dispensaries exist within a 5-mile radius" of their city. Since San Francisco currently has 21, it's unclear to where else they're pointing potential pot customers. Nevertheless, San Francisco is happy to be a part of Daly City's business plan.

Last month, three dispensaries were approved for San Francisco's Excelsior District, a short hop from the Daly City border. A sound business strategy indeed, to dispense in San Francisco's extreme south -- and cop-approved.

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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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