California has been a pioneer in the legalization of cannabis in this country for years. Medicinal cannabis was legalized all the way back in 1996 and recreational marijuana has had numerous big votes that fell just short of passing. Despite the civil war between medicinal proponents and recreational supporters, the citizens of San Francisco seem to think that recreational will definitely be legalized in 2016. In light of this they’ve already started organizing a special committee of experts that will be in charge of creating the new regulations for recreational marijuana shops and patrons. Although San Francisco has had medical marijuana for a while, recreational weed would have to bring some big changes.
There are 48 applicants gunning for a position on the new Cannabis State Legalization Task Force. There are only 14 spots available, however. The applicants range from dispensary owners to HIV and cancer patients. Eleven of the spots were just recently filled, while the other three will be figured out at a later date. The members of this task force will have a lot to tackle. One of the biggest issues they face is finding a way to get these dispensaries in legal and convenient locations around the city. Currently medicinal dispensary locations are highly regulated to a certain district nicknamed the green district. This has caused an overcrowding of shops in that small area and a large void in most of the other parts of the city. This and other limiting regulations desperately need to change if they are going to be ready to accommodate the demands of recreational marijuana. Another one of these speed bumps that needs to be changed is that dispensaries are currently required to be on the ground level of buildings. This is greatly limiting the potential of San Francisco’s financial district with plenty of room for shops in their tall buildings.
Today, there are 28 open dispensaries in San Francisco. This number will definitely have to increase to be able to sustain the legalization of recreational cannabis, but by how much is yet to be determined. Many residents will likely resist construction of a dispensary in their neighborhood, but through community meetings and awareness raising events hopefully public perception will continue to change. All of these plans are still in very formative early stages because the legalization of recreational cannabis still isn’t a sure thing. Lots of people doubt that the state will get recreational anytime soon as this is just one of many attempts at changing the status of cannabis over the last dozen years. If 2016 is the magic year though, San Francisco is going to be ready for it and will hopefully make the transition seamlessly thanks to all of this preparation.