SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As SF city leaders remained deadlocked over what to do about recreational marijuana, Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday finally broke his silence about the fight over pot.
While the question of how the city should legislate recreational pot dispensaries when Prop 64 goes into effect January 1 has been hotly debated, the mayor has remained quiet on the subject.
One key the sticking point has been how close pot stores should be to schools.
“I do think we need a buffer zone of 1,000 feet,” said Lee. “Maybe in the next couple of weeks, something will happen.”
San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy was not optimistic as about a decision being made.
“Sure. Pigs will fly,” said Sheehy.
Those contrasting comments underscore the deep divide over how and where recreational pot should be sold in San Francisco. For Sheehy, the pot deadlock is also the latest sign of the city’s inability to get things done.
“I’m not sure what it is all coming down to. I just know that we are not doing our job and we are not going to be ready January 1st.” explained Sheehy.
Supervisor Kane Kim agreed with the mayors concern over a buffer around schools.
“I don’t see what is unreasonable about saying we don’t want cannabis on the same block as schools or child care centers,” said Kim.
Sheehy on the other hand says the 1,000 foot ban is too much. He wants 600 feet.
“It won’t kill the industry, but it means the number of people who participate will be limited,” said Sheehy.
Another question is how much say neighborhoods should have on pot clubs moving in next door.
“Neighborhoods should have a say, just like they have a say on retail outlets or on how many bakeries and nail salons they want,” said Lee.
“I think we should negotiate that,” countered Sheehy.
There is also opposition from the Chinese-American community, which is a large and influential voter block in the city.
“I don’t know if it is cultural,” said Lee. “I do think with the Asian community that there are great concerns about public safety. We need address those.”
When asked how much of the debate was about money, Kim replied, “I think we are certainly seeing a lot of industry lobbyists coming in to make sure that owners are able to make as much money as they can on whatever corner they can.”
Sheehy was concerned with the income the city will lose if a plan isn’t in place.
“Right now there is cannabis everywhere- were not getting any of the money,” said Sheehy.