San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves ban on new cannabis businesses through 2028
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San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves ban on new cannabis businesses through 2028

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, on June 6, voted to implement a citywide stop on issuing new licenses for cannabis businesses for the next four and a half years. The 10 members present at the time of the vote voted unanimously. One member was absent. Supervisor Ahsha Safai, the driving force behind this moratorium, stressed that it would be temporary. According to The San Francisco Standard, he stated that the moratorium was a pause and not a ban. We can revisit this in a few more years. The San Francisco Standard states that Safai’s decision addresses concerns of local Asian American communities who oppose cannabis. This could be Safai’s way to appeal to this group as he campaigns for mayor of San Francisco 2024. Safai addressed these concerns to the board in May. According to the San Francisco Standard, there are currently 100 applications being processed for approximately 32 licensed medical cannabis and 31 recreational cannabis dispensaries. According to SFGATE there are nine cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco for every 100,000 residents. This compares to 2.6 dispensaries in San Diego and 1.8 dispensaries in Los Angeles. However, cities like Portland, Oregon, have 34 dispensaries in each 100,000 residents. Preston told SFGATE that the original proposal was for a longer-term ban. “These amendments have gone a long way to creating a more short term moratorium, which was the original intent.” The moratorium will last until the end of 2027 when the board will decide whether or not to extend the ban. The moratorium does not affect existing cannabis businesses or applicants. The ban will take effect 30 days after the approval, which is early July. Delaplane stated that there is a limited amount of legal cannabis in San Francisco. “Many of these retailers will fail if it’s divided into 70 retailers, and soon it will become 140 retailers.” Brad Rowe, a lecturer in public policy at UCLA and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University explained that this would increase profits for dispensaries, but also raise prices for consumers. Rowe said that limiting access is one way to increase value. The problem is, who will pay for it? The consumers will pay higher prices. Reese Benton, owner of Posh Green, said that the ban was unfair. According to Gift of Doja’s Nina Parks who is in the middle of applying for equity, the ban will hurt other social equity applicants. Parks said that the ban limits access to opportunities, while the equity program was supposed to open up access to marginal people. In some areas, such as Pasco, Washington officials lifted a 10 year ban on cannabis. However, recently in Amsterdam a ban to prevent cannabis smoking was implemented. Other recreational cannabis states also face problems with an oversupply, just like San Francisco. In a recent Associated Press report, it was revealed that cultivators had too much product and there were not enough dispensaries to sell and distribute flower and edibles.


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