SF Bans New Pot Shop Applications Until 2028

Khalifa Kush nug SF
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SF – New cannabis store applications will not be permitted in San Francisco for the next four-and-a-half years, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday.

Supervisors unanimously passed a moratorium on accepting new permit applications for potential pot store owners until 2028. The city will still consider the nearly 100 applications currently in the approval process.

SF City lawmakers initially opposed to an outright ban on cannabis permits drew support for the ordinance after Supervisor Ahsha Safai, author of the moratorium, included a last-minute sunset clause that allows the city to reconsider accepting new applications on Dec. 31, 2027.

A controller’s report will also be produced in a few years to assess how the moratorium affects the industry, its equity operators and location clustering, among other industry sectors.

Safai said the ordinance comes as an effort to preserve the future and survival of the cannabis industry amid oversaturation and a thriving illicit market undercutting legal sales.

He said the pot industry is not operating as a free market, due to little access to financial services like banking and loans and 60 percent of sales still coming from the black market.

He added that San Francisco has more cannabis businesses per 100,000 residents than any other locale in California, and that many of these businesses are targeted for violent crimes for their valuable products and cash.

This moratorium is an opportunity for the market to “reset,” he said.

“Listening to the existing businesses, listening to equity operators who spent a lot of time, effort and energy ensuring that they would be successful, as well as those that are in the process of opening up, we’ve heard for them loud and clear that if there is a continued illicit market and a continued saturation, many of these businesses that we’ve put effort and energy into won’t survive,” Safai said.

Supervisor Dean Preston said he was still somewhat conflicted on passing legislation that bans, limits or could potentially stigmatize cannabis, but he said that making the ordinance a short-term way to clear the backlog of retail applicants was the reason why he voted in favor.

“We have this unfortunate situation where, as we add more applicants in, we’re actually slowing down the process of vetting and approving, particularly the equity applicants that are already in the queue,” Preston said.

To be implemented, the ordinance will have to receive final approval from the supervisors and then be signed off by Mayor London Breed