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San Francisco To Begin Recreational Marijuana Sales Just In Time For The First Weekend Of 2018

By Rick Schettino
Dec 01, 2017

The city may miss the January 1 launch date, but the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a framework for recreational sales to begin on Friday, January 5, 2018.

Though California voters approved recreational marijuana sales to begin in the state on January 1, 2018, the vast majority of California cities have not approved the local laws necessary for sales to begin. Most notably, San Francisco and Los Angeles will not be selling recreational cannabis on the first of the year.

San Franciscans, however — and the legions of marijuana tourists who visit — won’t have to wait much longer. San Francisco dispensaries can sell marijuana on Friday, January 5, 2018, to anyone over 21 years of age, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

Medical marijuana cards will no longer be necessary to purchase marijuana.

The Board of Supervisors voted by a 10-1 margin to approve a set of recreational sales regulations. That veto-proof majority comes after weeks of debate over cannabis equity legislation intended to ensure that women, people of color, and individuals incarcerated in the drug war have equal ownership numbers of dispensaries and delivery services.

A compromise allows all current San Francisco medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling recreational marijuana on January 5 (provided they’ve also received state licenses). But the new rules dictate that future licenses in the city must all go to owners who meet the equity criteria until the ownership ranks are equal between equity and non-equity owners.

Two supervisors proposed caps on the numbers of dispensaries allowed in their districts, but both of those caps were rejected by the board. Additionally, one district that had a cap in place will no longer have that limit.

There are currently 30 dispensaries and 16 delivery services in San Francisco, though one delivery service is closing. San Francisco is the second largest marijuana market in California according to the state Board of Equalization.

January 5 sales are technically not a done deal. A quirk of San Francisco politics is that bills require a second reading and vote at the following week’s board meeting before being enacted into law. The board will vote again on December 5, and Mayor Ed Lee will have ten days to sign the legislation after that. But if the previous 10-1 board vote holds up, that is a veto-proof majority the mayor cannot override.

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