Medical Marijuana Would Be Dispensed Through Healthy SF
The Oakland City Council’s move last night to permit and tax large-scale marijuana cultivation operations — which could help the cash-strapped city rake in millions of revenue — was watched with envious eyes here across the Bay.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi — the author of San Francisco’s laws regulating medical cannabis dispensaries, which have served as a blueprint for states like Maine just getting into the medical marijuana game — has in the past suggested that San Francisco should also somehow get into the sticky business of regulating and taxing marijuana cultivation options.
On Wednesday the District 5 Supervisor renewed his push for city-owned and operated medical marijuana dispensaries, but said that SF shouldn’t stop there. San Francisco should also grow its own, on city-owned property, and dispense the public option medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, Mirkarimi said Wednesday.
“We’re being proven by other cities, like Oakland, that San Francisco is a little dated in its thinking,” he said. “We need to modernize our approach — and if we have to test the waters a little bit, we should, because it makes sense.”
Participants in SF’s health access program for the uninsured, Healthy San Francisco should also be able to get that medicine at a discounted rate — something patient advocates have been screaming for for years.
“We approved [medical cannabis] as law here in San Francisco, and it has been [the law] for years. It’s not part of Healthy SF — and it should be,” Mirkarimi said. “It’s only consistent and intellectually honest.”
It’d be easy to do all this, Mirkarimi added. In fact, the city was poised to start regulating cultivation around five years ago, when a leery City Attorney watched the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice raid SF dispensaries and told Mirkarimi to stand down and back off.
Mirkarimi tried again last year — introducing in April 2009 a plan for the city to sling reefer — but was again fended off when Mayor Gavin Newsom and others opposed the idea thanks to worries that city employees who handled the medical cannabis could be subject to prosecution or otherwise open up the city to get whacked legally.
The climate’s changed, and now that Proposition 19, the state ballot measure that would legalize adult recreational use of cannabis and tax the hash out of it, stands at least a fighting chance of passage at the November election, it’s something Mirkarimi’s office is “actively” looking to do, he said.