San Francisco Ponders the Pot Business

April 12, 2004

, Fox News

San Francisco — Some San Francisco leaders say it's worth it to choose pot over pain when considering getting into the medical marijuana business.

Some city leaders want to help nonprofit cooperatives grow medical marijuana by offering grants for land, cultivation and equipment. City officials have the voters on their side: Californians passed Proposition 215, which allows the city to look at ways to grow and distribute pot.

Also, the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that cannabis clubs for the sick might be protected by the U.S. government.

'I have a responsibility as a policy-maker here in San Francisco to make sure our citizens have access to their medicine, which is allowed them by state law, which was passed by a vote of the people,' said city councilman Mark Leno.

But it's unlikely the federal government will just sit back and watch; federal agents have already conducted raids around the Bay Area and could easily tie the city up in court or pull federal funding.

'It's not just the one federal law, it's also again a 'schedule 1' drug, as recognized by the federal government and the FDA, meaning that it's classified as a narcotic that's subject to frequent potential abuses,' said Josh Kriegel of the San Francisco Republican Party.

Legal experts say helping grow and distribute pot could make San Francisco more liable for accidents and problems involving those high on city-sanctioned pot.

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