S.F. Officials Explore Distributing Medical Marijuana In Wake Of Cannabis Healing Center’s Closure

City officials seeking alternatives to the state’s privately-run medical marijuana dispensaries are promoting plans to distribute the drug through the Department of Public Health.
“The will is there to put this [issue] in Public Health’s court,” Supervisor Tom Ammiano said shortly after local law enforcement officials complied with a court order to shut down the city’s 9,000 member Cannabis Healing Center. “We have to make this happen as soon as possible.”
Ammiano said the Board of Supervisors may soon draft legislation to allow the health department to distribute marijuana to city residents who use the drug under their doctor’s supervision. The proposal shares the support of District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who compares the idea to the city’s policy of distributing clean hypodermic needles to addicts. While the latter program violates federal law, Department of Justice officials have not challenged the issue.
Mitchell Katz, director of the Public Health Department, said his agency is examining the distribution issue. “We believe that medical marijuana eases suffering and that providing it is a compassionate service,” he said.
City officials will meet today with Mayor Willie Brown’s office to debate the issue, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858.