By Chris Roberts
On Monday, The Apothecarium will finally open its doors, making it San Francisco's 26th medical cannabis dispensary. Far from having as many pot clubs as Starbucks, vast swaths of San Francisco are, thanks to restrictive zoning laws, completely devoid of dispensaries or any reminder that San Francisco is the birthplace of America's medical marijuana movement.
Yet 26 is still too many for city planning leaders and some law-abiding citizens of our fair burg, who complain of "saturation" and "proliferation" in certain areas (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/05/grass_roots_cannabis_clayton_kopp.php) -- primarily in SOMA and the Mission. Planners have asked the Board of Supervisors to revamp the city's medical marijuana laws, which to date make San Francisco the only major California city without a city-imposed gross-receipts tax on dispensaries, and without a cap on the amount of dispensaries allowed within city limits.
If 26 is too many for citizens and planning leaders, it could be too many for some dispensary operators as well (http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/garcia-urban-geography-rules-pot-club-politics).
San Francisco is an island connected to the mainland by two bridges (three, if you count the Peninsula), meaning that every time a new pot club opens, the city's medical marijuana dispensaries compete for a slimmer slice of the same pie, says Catherine Smith, who has run HopeNet on Ninth Street for the last decade.