Advocates fear new pot clubs could be rejected by technicality 

A typo in The City’s planning code that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries might affect applications for new clubs if it is not fixed, according to members of the Medical Marijuana Task Force.

The error comes down to a single letter.

According to Patrick Goggin, the chair of the task force’s legal committee, the portion of the code that prohibits dispensaries from opening within 1,000 feet of a school or community or recreation center that serves children under the age of 18 incorrectly lists a subsection that does not exist.

The section that defines recreation centers as those that strictly serve children 18 years old or younger is incorrectly referenced in the code as section “f” rather than section “a,” where it falls.

That mistake, according to Goggin, was listed as one of many reasons The City’s Board of Appeals denied an application by the Bay Area Compassion Health Center for a dispensary at 2139 Taraval St. in November. The appeals board also objected to its location near a youth tutoring facility.

“If the Board of Appeals is using it as a contributory factor to reversing issuance of a permit, then until it’s fixed it remains possible that the board or the Planning Commission could cite the typo again,” Goggin said.

That is why the task force, a 13-member advisory group appointed by the Board of Supervisors, wants to correct the error as quickly as possible to prevent future applications from being denied.

“I don’t want to see permits denied for a technical flaw and something that has nothing to do with dispensaries’ application,” said task force member David Goldman, who is the head of Americans for Safe Access, a nonprofit organization based out of Oakland promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Goggin said he does not believe the typo could be used retroactively to overturn applications already approved.
The task force is currently drafting legislation to correct the typo to submit to the Board of Supervisors.

There are an estimated 33 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco.

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