SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Following weeks of emotional and detailed debate over where to allow new stores, San Francisco supervisors approved regulations for the sale of recreational marijuana when it becomes legal in California in January.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday for a 600-foot buffer zone between stores and schools, although vocal members of the city’s Chinese immigrant community had lobbied for a much larger barrier.
The board also rejected provisions that would have allowed neighborhoods to limit the number of pot shops or ban them outright. Pot advocates considered those provisions unfriendly.
Cannabis supporters cheered when supervisors finally voted late Tuesday. They had rallied earlier in the day to encourage supervisors to hurry up and establish rules so businesses could start preparing.
Supervisor Ahsha Safai was the only person to vote against the broad set of regulations, saying that the board had not had enough time to hash out sensitive issues, such as neighborhood input and local zoning.
“This is the issue that divides the board,” he said, “this is the issue that divides this city.”
Recreational sales become legal in California on Jan. 1, although cities and counties are still struggling to devise regulations for local permits that growers or retailers need for state permits.
San Diego and Palm Springs are among the cities ready for legal sales. Los Angeles is not.
San Francisco will not be ready for sales on New Year’s Day but if the mayor signs the legislation quickly, the city could be ready in the first week of the new year.