In preparation for the flow of recreational cannabis applicants coming as early as January 2018, the city of San Francisco may expand its cannabis regulations by establishing a Cannabis Department. City Supervisor Jeff Sheehy of District 8 introduced legislation that would create both a seven-member Cannabis Commission as well as a Cannabis Department, complete with a director and staff.
The commission would issue and deny recreational cannabis permits. Under the proposal, the mayor would appoint all seven commissioners as well as the director of the Cannabis Department. “We are in the process of reviewing Supervisor Sheehy’s legislation,” mayoral spokesperson Ellen Canale told the San Francisco Examiner.
The commission “shall conduct hearings upon applications for permits related to commercial non-medical cannabis businesses, and issue, deny, condition, suspend, or revoke such permits in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” the proposal reads. “The commission may impose reasonable conditions upon the issuance or renewal of non-medical cannabis business permits, consistent with applicable law and regulations, for the location and activities for which a permit is sought.” The Board of Appeals would have the power to challenge any permit decisions. Cannabis Commission appointees would need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Medical cannabis dispensaries would continue to be issued permits by the Public Health Department and Planning Commission.
Those who wish to run a recreational cannabis business in California must apply for both state and local licensing. No general funds would be used to fund the department. The cannabis industry, not voters, would fund the department’s staffing costs via permit and license fees.
Sheehy hopes the board will approve the bill by the fiscal year ending July 1 in time for the budget process. It will be reviewed by a board committee this May. Medical cannabis dispensaries have been issued permits for years in the city.