Residents fight plan for new pot dispensary

June 3, 2011 7:58:28 PM PDT
Supporters call it a medical cannabis dispensary. Opponents call it a pot club. But whatever you call it, there's a new one slated to open up in San Francisco's Mission District. Some neighbors are not happy about it.

Dmitry Margusov, a chiropractor, says he's in the business of helping people. That's why he wants to turn a vacant doctor's office on Mission Street into an alternative health clinic that's also a medical marijuana dispensary.

He says he wants to be a good neighbor.

"The dispensary is going to be located at the north side of the building, it's going to be a single entrance right here, there's going to be an unarmed security guard and the café will be located as the storefront in front of the building with outdoor seating," he said.

The cafe in front, the marijuana in back.

The neighbors don't think it's such a great idea.

"We just don't' feel it's an appropriate business for this location," Christopher Scorfina said.

Scorfina passed out 500 fliers to his neighbors.

There's already a medical cannabis club three blocks away and others up and down Mission Street.

"There are so many pot clubs in one corridor," he said. "You don't see a pot club in Pacific Heights, you don't see pot clubs in other neighborhoods."

But San Francisco's Planning Commission approved the new club unanimously. Commissioner Ron Miguel said there were no grounds to deny it.

"It's an alternative medical treatment that's allowed by law," Miguel said.

The location is on the right side of the law, but just barely. Marijuana dispensaries are required to be at least 1,000 feet away from the nearest school. This one happens to be 1,087 feet away from Saint Anthony's Elementary.

More troubling, neighbors say, is that it's just over 100 feet away from a day care.

"We don't want them seeing it and smelling it," Scorfina said.

But under the law a day care doesn't count as a school, so Miguel says the board's hands were tied.

"This is what the code says, this is what we have to abide by," Miguel said.

Neighbors say they plan to appeal the commissioners' decision

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