Green Cross Update - Write the Appeals Board! (Re: Our future now depends on YOU!)

Hi Kevin,

  Sorry to hear things look so grim. I'll write to the Appeals Board for what it's worth. Please send us that address if you have it, I didn't see it listed below. [Do read Kevin's full message for interesting details on the state of medical marijuana in SF, etc., however!]

  There's also the option of taking it to the voters with a ballot initiative. I have no idea whether the Green Cross would win such a citywide popularity contest, but it is an option. Actually a ballot measure wouldn't have to be specifically focused on the Green Cross -- it could simply say something along the lines of "the city must grant permits allowing any facility that has gone through steps X, Y, and Z, to do business and remain open." It would also be very positive if voters could be induced to put a cap on the fees the authorities can charge for various types of permits and prohibit them from introducing new permit categories.

Love & liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

P.S. - You realize if all this had happened 100 years ago, you wouldn't have had to go through any of this? No "permit process," no hearings at City Hall, no being evicted by the city at the behest of busybody neighbors, just lease the premises and open up for business (see ). Doesn't it make you want to become a libertarian and reign in big government?

August 31, 2006

Dear patients, allies, supporters and friends:

I sincerely hope all of you have plans to enjoy this Labor Day weekend. I wish I could be in better spirits as I write this letter, but frankly, I am weary. The battle to be given the opportunity to open The Green Cross has been long and demoralizing. While we haven!/t given up, it is really challenging to stay up-beat. The odds are incredibly formidable. In order for the SF Board of Appeals to overturn the decision of the Planning Commission, we will need 4 out of 5 members to support us. Simple majority isn!/t enough when appealing a denial. We need 4 out of 5 votes!!

Once again we turn to you, our base of support. Now that we have formally filed an appeal to the Planning Commission!/s decision to deny The Green Cross a building permit for the location at 2701 Leavenworth, I wanted to be in touch to provide an update, and to let you know how you can help. Our future depends on our ability to mobilize the medical cannabis community! We cannot win without your help.

Very simply stated: this appeal process is !0the last stop!1 for The Green Cross journey. If we cannot convince the SF Board of Appeals that the Planning Commission !0acted arbitrarily and capriciously!1 when they took discretionary review and denied The Green Cross application for a building permit,our only recourse is a legal battle. I will not pursue a legal strategy. I am unwilling to jeopardize the entire mcd community with a court battle. Ultimately, the real losers would be the thousands of SF patients who rely on cannabis to address a medical concern.

Again: I have not given up! The Green Cross attorney will be filing our official appeal with the Board of Appeals. We absolutely believe the Planning Commission made a huge mistake. We absolutely believe we should be granted a permit to open at 2701 Leavenworth. Please help us convince the Board of Appeals! Here!/s what we need:

1. Last round we generated 133 letters of support and the opposition generated 235 letters. We need to do much better this time. Although you must be getting even more tired than I of this letter-writing exercise, please take the time to write yet another letter on our behalf. In our last round with the Planning Department, we learned that the city staff literally counts and tallies the number of letters supporting and opposing any given case. One of the Commissioners actually mentioned during the hearing that they had received (v as many letters from SF residents supporting The Green Cross than from residents opposing it.

2. Plan to come to the hearing and speak on behalf of The Green Cross.The hearing with the SF Board of Appeals has been set for Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. The hearing takes place at City Hall in Room 416.I hope we can pack the hearing room with medical cannabis patients and supporters.

We will be making the following arguments in our appeal. Please feel free to use some variation of these themes in your own letters.

1. The newly passed regulations deserve a chance to be tested. It is wrong

to deny The Green Cross a permit because of problems occurring before

a regulatory structure was in place. Many of the fears (traffic, double-

parking, resale, etc.) are based on incidents that mighthave taken place in

the vicinity of mcds that operated in an unregulated environment. It is a

new day!The new regulations outline the responsibilities mcds must assume

in order to protect the safety of the neighborhood, such as maintaining

adequate security staff and lighting. The regulations also create a series of

fines for incidents such as double-parking, parking in a bus zone and smoking

near the facility. To have been denied a permit because of problems that

existed before any regulations is just plain wrong.

2. The Planning Commission acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it denied the building permit. And, they exceeded their authority. In our denial letter, the following were among the reasons cited for denying the permit:

* The Commission found that the proposed medical cannabis dispensary (MCD) use is not consistent with the neighborhood character, in that this area of the city is a tourist destination and the proposed use is not geared to or intended for tourists.

* The Commission found there were potential traffic and parking impacts of the MCD use.

* The Commission found that allowing an MCD at this location has the potential to be harmful to children who live or go to school near the project.

The role of the Planning Commission is to implement public policies, not to create them. As mentioned above, the new regulations provide a series of fines and sanctions for parking and traffic-related violations. They require mcds to be at least 1,000 ft from a school. The location at Leavenworth is at least 1,500 ft from a school. It is also located in a location that is zoned C-2, one of the factors making it an eligible location for an mcd. It is not the role of the Planning Commission to create new, more stringent proximity requirements than those adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, especially when the regulations adopted by the Supervisors have not had a chance to be tested.

3. SAY NO TO NIMBYISM! Insist The Green Cross be given a chance to open at 2701 Leavenworth. We meet all of the requirements---and the requirements are extremely restrictive.Our opponents say they support medical cannabis, just not near Fisherman!/s Wharf. Our neighbors in Noe Valley said over and over they voted for Prop. 215, BUT The Green Cross did not belong in their neighborhood. Given the new regulations, there are very, very few parts of the city where an mcd can even try to locate. So, we didn!/t go looking for a location in Fisherman!/s Wharf. Fisherman!/s Wharf was not ever anyone!/s first choice. The location at 2701 Leavenworth was not one of several options of where we could locate. It was the ONLY place we found after 9 months of an intense search process, a search defined by the proximity requirements.

Another reason provided in the denial letter was: !0The Commission found that the strong neighborhood opposition demonstrated an unusual or extraordinary circumstance.!1 For the sake of all medical cannabis patients and mcds, we cannot allow the Planning Commission to, in effect, legitimate and institutionalize the well-resourced !0Not-in-My-Back- Yard!1 movement against mcds. If The Green Cross is not allowed to open and we followed every single rule, what hope is there for the rest of the mcds waiting to begin their permit process?


I have to maintain faith that most people in San Francisco are compassionate beings that support the use of medical cannabis, and have no problem living near a responsible medical cannabis dispensary (mcd). I refuse to believe we have become a city of !0not-in-my-back-yard!1 (NIMBY) snobs.

Please continue to send us a copy of your letters. ( We are going to have to be a little more organized this next round. Please, pleasedon!/t underestimate the value of your voice. The Board of Appeals needs to hear from the SF cannabis patients and supporters! It really is the !0do or die!1 moment for The Green Cross. SF patients deserve access to high-quality, affordable medical cannabis. Denying patients access to local, regulated mcds is tantamount to making cannabis a gate-way drug: it forces patients back to underground drug dealers.

We look forward to the day when we can become active members of the community surrounding our proposed location. We want to be contributing partners with other neighboring business!/ and city agencies in providing needed neighborhood improvement projects. We want a chance to demonstrate how a well-run mcd can be an asset to a neighborhood.

Thank you for all of your well-wishes. It really helps to know that our efforts matter to so many.

Kevin Reed, President

The Green Cross

Medical Cannabis Fact Sheet

What is medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis refers to the use of Cannabis as a prescription drug, most notably as an antiemetic. The term medical marijuana post-dates the U.S. Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the effect of which made cannabis prescriptions illegal in the United States.

Cannabis was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942. The United States federal government does not currently recognize any legitimate medical use. Nonetheless, Francis L. Young, an administrative law judge with the Drug Enforcement Agency, has declared that in its natural form, (cannabis) is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, %D9-THC, %D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), %D)v-tetrahydrocannabinol (using an older numbering scheme), or dronabinol, is the main psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis plant. In pure form it is a glassy solid when cold and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed. THC has a very low solubility in water, but a good solubility in most organic solvents such as pure ethanol or hexane.

What is the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Indica and Sativa plants are the most commonly used form of marijuana for medical purposes. However, the two different strains usually offer confusion amongst users.

Sativa plants have less chlorophyll than the Indica counterpart. It has a higher THC content to Cannabinoid (CBD) ratio and offers a much more energetic type of mood. Sativa is used most commonly to elevate a depressed mood.

Indica has a higher CBD content to THC ratio and induces a more relaxing mood. This is a treatment for anxiety, pain, tremors and many more applications. Indica is most commonly used to induce appetite.

However, many of today's strains have been cross-bred between the two offering the benefits of both strains while reducing the lesser desired effects of the other. Please feel free to ask our staff about what may best help your condition.

Has There Been Research?

A number of studies indicate that THC may provide medical benefits for cancer and AIDS patients by increasing appetite and decreasing nausea, and by blocking the spread of some cancer-causing Herpes simplex viruses. It has been shown to assist some glaucoma patients by reducing pressure within the eye, and is used in the form of cannabis by a number of multiple sclerosis patients to relieve the spasms associated with their condition. Studies also indicate a variety of negative effects associated with constant, long-term use, including short-term memory loss, and depression. The long-term effects of THC on humans have been disputed because its status as an illegal drug almost everywhere prevents research into the subject. The issue has become deeply politicized

Why choose cannabis vaporization?

Vaporization is a technique for avoiding respiratory toxins in marijuana smoke by heating cannabis to a temperature where the psychoactive ingredients evaporate without causing combustion.

Laboratory studies have shown vaporizers can efficiently deliver cannabinoids while eliminating or reducing immensely other smoke toxins.

As of July 25th of 2006, how many MCDs are in San Francisco?

There are currently thirty MCDs in the city of San Francisco. As of mid-July, only 5 MCDs have filed an application for a MCD permit with the San Francisco Health Department. Many facilities will not be able to meet the new ADA standards, and at least two more MCDs will need to relocate as they are established in dense residential areas. Two more MCDs face an expiring lease with landlords who are unwilling to renew them.

How many patients are in San Francisco?

There are currently 1,747 patients in San Francisco that possess the new state medical marijuana card. Another 800 possess cards as caregivers. Note: this does not include up to 3,500 patients that possess valid SF Health Dept. issued medical marijuana card which are valid through December 2007. SF patients deserve access to high-quality, affordable medical cannabis. Denying patients access to local, regulated mcds is tantamount to making cannabis a gate-way drug: it forces patients back to underground drug dealers.

Pertinent to the Green Cross and its operations!&

Is your operation legal?

Yes, in every sense of the word. In 1996, California voters passed Prop. 215, a law making cannabis legal for medical reasons, and we operate under these conditions very strictly. For more information, please consult our Know Your Rights Section at our website:

  Who Are the Patient Members of The Green Cross?

All of us at The Green Cross are supporters of the Medical Cannabis Movement and seek to protect patients' rights to make their own medical decisions.

Patients become Green Cross members by demonstrating proper documentation and paying a nominal ($10.00) annual membership fee. Membership must be renewed when updating documentation required by the city and state. The Green Cross membership fee is waived for all veterans and persons demonstrating financial hardship. Discounts for our cannabis products are also provided to veterans.

In compliance with state and local SF laws, The Green Cross requires patients to have a current recommendation from a medical professional, an up-to-date patient ID issued by the City of San Francisco and a Green Cross membership card.

Entrance to The Green Cross will be denied if a person fails to have the proper documentation.

  What else do you carry?