Medical pot coming to downtown 

Downtown workers will soon be able to take a short stroll to a pot dispensary.

A medical marijuana facility will begin selling pot and related products — including brownies — in the ground floor of a building near two child care centers at the southern edge of the Financial District.

Igzactly Health Center will open at 527 Howard St., between First and Second streets in the South of Market area, after planning commissioners approved permits Thursday.

No other nondelivery marijuana dispensary operates so close to San Francisco’s bustling downtown area.

More than a dozen dispensaries sell pot to customers holding doctor’s recommendations in San Francisco, where such facilities are banned from operating within 1,000 feet of recreational clubhouses or schools.

Igzactly Health Center complies with those rules, city officials determined, but its opening was opposed by some neighbors and delayed because the location is close to two child care centers and because a youth leadership group leases office and meeting space in the same building.

Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini cast the lone vote against the proposal, arguing that a nearby child care center operated by Marin Day Schools, which cares for youths under 18 years old, is similar to a school. Two of the seven commissioners were absent from the vote.

“It seemed like that [center] would be the same as a school,” Antonini said.

Technology companies largely occupy the upper three stories of the charming century-old brick building.

The site is near an area where scores of high-rise office towers and residential buildings are planned to be built on vacant land in the coming years and decades, expanding the downtown area southward.

Smoking will be banned inside the dispensary and its operator, Igor Khavin, agreed to shoo away loiterers, install only subtle signage and designate an official to meet regularly with neighbors.

Khavin said he discovered the benefits of medical marijuana after an accident put him in a wheelchair for three months.

“A few years after my incident, I found medical cannabis,” Khavin told commissioners Thursday before their vote. “It has changed my life and made me a much more happy and functional person.”

The facility will operate as a nonprofit collective and help fund social services, including extreme-sports training for people with disabilities, attorney Matthew Kumin told commissioners.

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