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Cannabis committee to oversee San Francisco pot business

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San Francisco Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to create a committee to oversee The City’s growing cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Oversight Committee will advise the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed on issues relating to cannabis, such as implementation and enforcement.

The committee will work with The City’s Office of Cannabis, but will not have the authority to fire, hire or evaluate personnel at the office, nor will it have the authority to issue, deny or modify permits for cannabis businesses.

The committee will be made up of stakeholders in The City’s cannabis industry, but if none apply for the committee, supervisors could then appoint a committee member.

Also, during today’s meeting, Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced legislation to amend The City’s rent control ordinance. Ronen’s legislation would extend protections on rent-controlled apartments to ensure that widows and family members can stay in a unit following the death of a unit’s original leaseholder.

According to Ronen, The City’s rent ordinance was drafted to mirror the state’s 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents California cities and counties from applying rent control to apartments built after 1995, or to single-family rental units and condos. Costa-Hawkins also allows landlords to raise the rent as much as they want if a unit becomes vacant.

State Proposition 10, also known as the Affordable Housing Act, will be on this November’s ballot and would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act and return authority over rent regulations to local jurisdictions. Ronen said her legislation could be implemented immediately if Prop. 10 passes:

“Any family who is not the original occupants, no matter how long they lived in the home, are completely unprotected. … This particular section has, and continues to have, disastrous effects.”

Supervisors Tuesday also unanimously voted to increase wages for home caregivers and nonprofit workers contracted by The City, following weeks of negotiations between Breed and labor leaders.

The new ordinance brings wages for nonprofit contractors to $16.50 an hour by July 1, 2019. Wages for home health care workers will increase in increments ranging between 50 cents and $1, bringing their hourly wage from $15 to $18.75 by July 1, 2023.

Home health care workers are tasked with caring for seniors and people with disabilities, while nonprofit contactors typically work with homeless people and families.

The wage increase for San Francisco’s 20,000 home health care workers will make them the highest paid home health care workers in the nation.

The legislation was sponsored by Ronen and Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.

Ronen said:

“This is something to go home and celebrate because, at least in San Francisco, we’re moving in the right direction. That’s something to be proud of and spread to other cities and counties that need to make sure that their lowest paid workers can survive.”

The board’s unanimous vote was met with a loud applause from the audience, which was made up of several members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which participated in the negotiations.

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