San Francisco Votes to Shrink ‘Buffer Zone’ Around Schools

San Francisco’s “green zone” of medical marijuana dispensaries could be about to grow.

The city’s Planning Commission recently voted to shrink the buffer zone between marijuana businesses and schools from 1,000 to 600 feet. The move could allow more businesses to open outside of the quadrant of southern and eastern San Francisco called “SoMa,” where 28 businesses currently operate.

When fully implemented, the new zoning laws could allow dispensaries to open into more residential areas of the city, such as Sunset and Richmond. Advocates believe that medical marijuana patients in these areas do not have adequate access to dispensaries, and are forced to travel to SoMa for their medicine.

The rule also eliminates the ban on marijuana clubs within 1,000 feet of playgrounds and youth facilities.

Whether San Francisco’s adjustments spread to other major cities could  impact the industry. The 1,000-foot “buffer zone” has become a regulatory standard, but some advocates believe the buffer is too restrictive in densely populated areas.

Advocates in Chicago, for example, believe the 1,000-foot buffer zone between shops and residential areas could push dispensaries out of town entirely.

2 comments on “San Francisco Votes to Shrink ‘Buffer Zone’ Around Schools
  1. Rahsaan on

    This article is a bit misleading. I was actually present at the SF Planning Meeting where I spoke on behalf of the MMJ community. While it is true that the planning commission did vote in favor of about 9 items that would prove favorable for SF dispensaries the rules have not officially been changed. After the meeting I spoke with a member of the commission who told me that while this is a great first step it does not represent a finished product. The Planning Commission has no authority to change legislation, so it must now go to the Board of Supervisors to see what they will do. A representative from the Board of Supervisors was also in attendance and he explained that they really did not want to spearhead this idea. So it will likely be volleyed back to the Planning Commission ultimately. So while we are moving in the right direction, the assumption is that we are about a year or more off from changing legislature in a best case scenario.

    Reply
    • CassandraF on

      Rahsaan –

      Thank you for the clarifications from an on-site source. I’ve updated the story to reflect this information.

      Reply

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