Grow, Gift, Repair

Event licenses coming to SF

Legislation introduced by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman creating the first ever permit for cannabis sales and consumption at events was approved 9-2 Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. The proposal implements state legislation that took effect Jan. 1, giving cities throughout the state this legal authority.

The Office of Cannabis will administer the permits, which will initially only be available for events that have traditionally involved unpermitted pot smoking and cannabis sales, such as Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly, 420, How Weird, Clusterfest, Carnaval and Pride.

But given the tight timeline, the permits will not, as initially hoped, be ready in time for this year’s 420 event at Hippie Hill, according to Supervisor Vallie Brown, who represents the neighborhood where the event April 20 event occurs. Events also need to obtain state permits.

Supervisors Gordon Mar and Ahsha Safai both opposed the legislation, expressing concerns over the expected consumption of tobacco at the events.

Since state law doesn’t allow consumption of cannabis wherever tobacco smoking is prohibiting and non-smoking laws are pervasive in San Francisco, the legislation allows for a waiver of non-smoking laws for the area and duration of the event.

State regulations require that consumption would have to occur in designated areas only accessible by those aged 21 or over.

“I am concerned about how this may undermine our existing policies and protections from second-smoke exposure,” Mar said. He noted that board has passed 15 different anti-smoking ordinances over the years.

Last week, attorney Lou Ann Bassan, a November 2018 District 4 supervisor candidate who ran against Mar, told a board committee that the legislation “is the height of hypocrisy.”

“All of our government agencies are trying to enforce no smoking, no smoking, no smoking cigarettes,” she said. “Yet you turn around and you want to allow smoking of cannabis at public events.”

But Mandelman said the legislation is simply addressing the smoking that everybody knows is already happening.

“What we are recognizing here is that there are events, and have been for time immemorial, where people have been smoking cannabis,” Mandelman said. “This is a public health life and safety issue. We want to have these events to be legal, permitted, safe.”