San Francisco’s estimated 40 pot-club operators are at the center of a raging debate over who, if anyone, should regulate them, reports the San Jose Mercury News. It’s a subject that grew hazier in June when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medicinal-marijuana laws in a dozen states including California do not protect users or suppliers from federal prosecution. Critics say strict rules are needed to prevent proliferation of clubs in a city where they already outnumber Burger Kings and McDonald’s combined. On the other side are advocates suspicious of oversight, fearing it will aid federal prosecutors.
The outcome could serve as a model for protecting patients’ access and deflecting federal interference with medicinal-marijuana laws. Mayor Gavin Newsom is on board for new regulations. In March, a dispensary was about to open in a city-backed residential hotel for recovering addicts. When the mayor got wind of it, he asked to see the city’s rules for establishing clubs, and found virtually none. The board of supervisors called a moratorium on new clubs, pending adoption of new regulations.