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Chinatown marijuana shop ban up for vote

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San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will consider at their meeting Tuesday whether to amend The City’s planning code to ban marijuana shops in Chinatown.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, whose district covers Chinatown, first introduced the legislation in May. Supervisors Jane Kim, Ahsha Safai, Sandra Lee Fewer and Katy Tang have signed on as co-sponsors.

The ban was unanimously approved earlier this month by the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee and forwarded to full board for a vote.

In a letter sent to the San Francisco Planning Department in May, the sponsoring supervisors reasoned that the booming recreational and medical cannabis industry would drive up commercial rental prices in the densely-populated neighborhood, causing displacement for many of the Chinese-owned and operated businesses.

In addition, because many immigrant families live in single room occupancies in the neighborhood, the supervisors noted that families would be at-risk for second-hand smoke because many SRO buildings are old and have thin walls. Furthermore, the letter alleges the longtime SRO residents could face displacement.

The letter said:

“The City and County of San Francisco has an interest in and an obligation to facilitate the accessible and responsible use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use, and it has a simultaneous obligation to ensure that the industry grows and matures in a way that respects the diverse cultural fabric of The City’s existing communities.”

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