Green Zone, Green Light: Upper Haight Approved For Retail Cannabis Sales

Green Zone, Green Light: Upper Haight Approved For Retail Cannabis Sales
By Camden Avery - Published on January 25, 2018.

Last November, the Board of Supervisors voted to shrink the buffer zone between schools and cannabis dispensaries from 1000 to 600 feet, a move that created new new areas where marijuana can be legally sold.

In the Upper Haight, the city's Office of Cannabis has designated two zones along the primary business corridor where retail cannabis sales would be allowed with a conditional use permit: Haight Street between Clayton and Cole, and on Stanyan Street between Waller and Beulah. 

As residents and many tourists can attest, both areas are frequently the site of illicit sidewalk transactions, but legal sales were previously banned due to the proximity of the Chinese Immersion School (1250 Waller St.) and the Xian Yun Academy of the Arts (formerly the Boys & Girls Club) at 1950 Page St.

Because Supervisors also created a 600-foot buffer between dispensaries, it's likely that each approved zone could accommodate only one dispensary before maxing out density limitations.

With multiple vacant storefronts in the Upper Haight—including several between Clayton and Cole—it's possible that some cannabis entrepreneurs will set their sites on the strip, assuming they can find a landlord willing to put their property on the line.

Since the distribution and sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law, landlords could face penalties for renting to dispensaries, including jail time and property forfeiture.

Federal bans aside, commercial rents for some storefronts in the green zones are currently $60 per square foot, which means deep-pocketed pot retailers could afford to make a stand.