Come TODAY at 1 PM City Hall room 250 for Rules Committee hearing on Cannabis!
I've been asked quite a few times since last evening, "What happened at Land Use yesterday?" and here's my best rundown of where we ended up.
The Land Use Committee, under the leadership of chair Aaron Peskin, used a procedural move and duplicated the cannabis land use legislation, creating two identical pieces of legislation that sit side-by-side with each other. Once that was done he reverted the first file to most of the original recommendations of the Mayor's draft including 600 feet from a sensitive use, no childcare as a sensitive use, and the other pieces I felt were decent, rational policies. It also added the Planning Commission's "orbit" option for managing the clustering "problem."
Into the second file, he added all the amendments that had been made by the various Supervisors. That procedure enabled two copies of the legislation to move through the public process parallel of each other so that they could easily be compared along the way.
The next thing that happened was various Supervisors wanted their amendments placed into file number one which for lack of a better description we'll call the "clean" version of the legislation. However, Chair Peskin put only those amendments which he felt were in the interest of the city as a whole in the Clean File #1 and any amendment that was seen as being District-centric was put in file # 2. This was the critical jiu-jitsu move - the creation of a visual comparison - that now helps highlight what can happen to an issue passed with a near 74% pro-cannabis voter mandate. It's complicated.
The Clean file is appropriately characterized as Citywide policy with the second file created to reflect District-centric amendments. Peskin's move is really clarifying: What would happen if we legislated District by District? What impact would that have on the City as a whole? Peskin approached this legislative process based on what was in the best interests of the City, as best as the City's leadership could predict. It was awesome to see President Breed showing her support for city policy cannabis policy if you watched really carefully, she really showed her skills today.
What followed were a bunch of procedural discussions about the fact that chair Peskin, reflecting the majority position of his colleagues, wanted all "as of right" zone districts for retail to have a minimum of mandatory Discretionary Review to ensure neighborhood participation in approving retail locations. People got lost, and so did I, as to what actually ended up happening. Here's where I believe the compromise is heading: some neighborhood notice will happen and it could be 312 notice or mandatory Discretionary Review. This would not change any of the other noticing requirements in other zone areas only those proposed to be "as of right." There was then a lot of technical back and forth about how to do that. And the City attorney went away to figure that out. Impact? This affects only locations in D-6 and will go into both files if you are following.
Then there was the all-important question about provisional permits allowing for medical cannabis dispensaries to temporarily sell adult use beginning January 1. This amendment made it into both files as long as the MCD who applies for the provisional permit both applies for a permanent adult use, retail license and agrees to give up their provisional adult use license if they lose approval of their permanent adult use license. This amendment was added to both files and gives a pathway for Adult Use Sales January 1, 2018. Very important if you believe we should enact the 74% Prop 64 voter mandate.
Prior to the meeting, the Department of Public Health dropped their restriction on cannabis smoking/vaping (a HUGE win) and so we saw an amendment in files allowing for smoking and vaping in consumption lounges. I believe that will go forward, it must because the alternative is to allow for cannabis smoking in public and in the eyes of children, the gold standard for what we will not allow in new cannabis policy.
My question is "Which department will grant the actual consumption permit?" The language says it will be awarded by the Office of Cannabis and the Department of Public Health wants to have that permit awarded by DPH. Stay tuned for this one. It is my belief that the permit should be issued by the Office of Cannabis upon the recommendation and enforcement of air quality by the Department of Public Health. Let's see how this one shakes out. Please mention this in your public comments; separation of permit issuance and enforcement is critical to any legal scheme being effective.
And the last thing I'll include in my summary has to do with the pipeline of applicants for MCD's locked out by the moratorium. After some back-and-forth (including Supervisor Kim chastising staff for not knowing how many MCD's had been closed under Federal intervention) it was agreed that all applications submitted before the date of the moratorium would be allowed to proceed to a decision prior to equity applications. This seems fair since applicants paid their fees and submitted their applications. It always appeared arbitrary that having a hearing at Planning put you in the "Pass Pile" and not having a hearing at Planning meant you were a "No-Go." If this amendment goes to everyone who applied will have a fair shot at the process. And again, if you are following along, this went into both files.
Tomorrow is the hearing on Article 16 permit regulation and enforcement. Tomorrow's hearing is critically important if you have any intention to be in the Medical or Adult Use Marketplace. Critically important is we provide non-retail cannabis businesses a path to receive authorization from the City to submit an application for a state license and retail has a host of issues that need to get worked out.
I'll see everyone TODAY, Tuesday 11/07 at 1:00 pm, Room 250, City Hall. We will learn tomorrow or Wednesday whether Monday's Land Use hearing will have the Cannabis issue on it or whether the 2 files created at today's Land Use hearing will be heard at what is called a "committee of the whole" which is simply the entire Board of Supervisors acting as the Land Use committee on Tuesday. Alternatively, it may be that the 2 files will be heard at Monday's Land Use Committee Hearing. All important Public Comment will happen if it goes to Land Use or to a Committee of the Whole at the full Board unlike usual items at the full Board which doesn't have Public Comment.
Depending on what decision is made on the hearing date and a couple of questions around a possible event happening Wednesday on the steps of City Hall, you will hear from me and the Chamber about a press event where everyone needs to turn out.
Yes! A Press Event! Stay tuned for the exact day and time. It could be Wednesday of this week, or Monday before Land Use if they hear the Cannabis issue, or Tuesday, just before the full board meeting if they meet as a "committee of the whole" and hear the land use issue around cannabis at the full board hearing. Whew!
Stay tuned and please pass this around. I'll see everyone This afternoon at 1 PM.
- Terrance Alan