If California legalizes cannabis for adults in 2016, what will become of San Francisco’s world-class medical dispensaries? How about the unlicensed Golden Gate Park gathering on April 20th? What should local recreational taxes be? How should San Francisco handle cannabis tourism? Gourmet canna-dining? Tastings? Conferences? Festivals?
The City faces all these questions and more in the near future. On Tuesday, a group that includes SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, former Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan, now co-founder of the state’s CA Cannabis Voice and others will propose to the city’s Board of Supervisors the creation of a 19-member “Cannabis State Legalization Task Force”.
Alan said “it’s very, very early in the process,” but “given my experience and years in wrestling with both the pros and cons of nightlife, I thought it best to suggest San Francisco take proactive positions.”
Supervisor Wiener said the Task Force would feature representatives from city departments, the cannabis industry, consumers, public health, nightlife, big business, tourism, neighborhood groups and others, and create recommendations for city leaders by summer 2016. “We really need to get ahead of the curve on this,” he said.
“There’s a reasonable chance that next November the voters will legalize recreational cannabis use in California. The last thing we need in San Francisco is to have a chaotic fire drill about local implementation and so forth.”
“I think people know this is coming. This is not a question of, ‘Should cannabis be legalized.’ Everyone is entitled to their view. But regardless of one’s views, this is coming next year and it’s not guaranteed to pass, but we need to be ready.”
A similar Medical Cannabis Task Force paved the way for the City’s crop of licensed dispensaries, Alan said. But San Francisco’s work on cannabis issues remains incomplete. Most of the City is off-limits to dispensaries, yet a 2014 law prevents clubs from clustering in certain areas where they are otherwise permitted, he notes.