S.F. Cracks Down on “Get Baked Sale”; Future Marijuana Events Uncertain
San Francisco city officials are cracking down on a popular medical cannabis edibles event, and have prohibited the “Get Baked Sale” from selling marijuana at its next planned iteration, scheduled for next month.
Last month, edibles vendors like Auntie Dolores and Madame Munchie sold cannabis-laced macaroons, pancakes, cookies, drinks, and other treats at the SoMa Streat Food Park at the “Get Baked Sale,” a celebration of edible marijuana in various shapes and forms.
The first “Get Baked Sale” was noteworthy enough to receive coverage in both The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. With that momentum, a second event — called “Pot Luck” — was scheduled for August 1, but it now looks as though there won’t be a follow-up.
Organizers of the sale say they’re looking at moving the event outside of San Francisco, after regulators from the city’s Department of Public Health informed them that something at the first event was unlawful.
Predictably, this has not sat well with event organizers, who were already selling tickets for an event planned for August 1.
“They told me we couldn’t have the event,” said Jared Stratton, one of the organizers. “They’re talking out of their fucking ass. I don’t know what they’re thinking.”
Specifically, it appears vendors’ ability to sell cannabis directly to medical cannabis patients is problematic.
In San Francisco, selling medical marijuana to a group of ten or more people requires a medical cannabis dispensary permit, which costs a couple thousand dollars.
It’s not clear if the first Get Baked Sale had a dispensary acting as sponsor, but in a letter to the city’s dispensaries sent out last week, an inspector with the city’s Health Department has informed vendors that if they participate in the second Get Baked Sale, they won’t be allowed to sell their wares in San Francisco MCDs going forward.
That’s been enough to effectively squash the event.
Other marijuana pop-up events, such as the High Society pop-ups that have drawn concentrates makers and pre-roll manufacturers to a South of Market arts space, have also canceled future plans in the wake of this development.
A change-over in Health Department staff may be the key here. The Health Department staffer who oversaw last month’s event has left the department. Inspector Larry Kessler, who sent the warning letter last week, took over the Health Department’s supervision of medical cannabis dispensaries on July 1.
Kessler is familiar to the San Francisco medical cannabis industry: he served as the MCD program’s inspector for several years before moving onto other duties several years ago.
Now he’s back, and that’s apparently an issue.
In earlier comments to the Chronicle, organizer Morgan Kelly insisted that the first event had Health Department approval.
“Everyone came prepared, and the planning went smoothly,” Kelly said, noting that there were no police officers at the event. “We knew the laws, followed them completely and had permission from the (city) health department. Only card-holders can purchase products, so we made sure to have two doctors on site for those who did not have” a medical marijuana card.”
In an interview with SF Evergreen on Monday, Kessler says he has “no idea what happened in June” at the first event.
“I told him that, based on his description, I didn’t think it complied with state law,” he said, “and that he was possibly setting up the whole thing to skirt local law.”
At issue is the provision above that limits distribution of marijuana to nine or fewer people, unless an MCD permit is acquired.
It appears that in response, Stratton threatened to set up “hundreds” of collectives with nine or fewer people. In response to that, Kessler told San Francisco’s permitted MCDs that vendors who chose to go that route would not be able to sell their medicine in those permitted MCDs.
Here’s Kessler’s e-mail to the city’s dispensaries.
Dear SF-MCD Operators, an event appears to be scheduled in SF called the getbakedsale. This is the website; http://www.getbakedsale.com/
As a reminder, permitted MCDs may only dispense medical cannabis to its members at their permitted location, or as delivery to their home or workplace.
Attached you will find a current list taken from the above-referenced website about “vendors” who, according to the event sponsor, will be signing up their own collective membership at this event and distribute to them directly. As they are now apparently establishing their own collectives, you will no longer be allowed to carry these products in your permitted mcd, as medical cannabis cannot go from one collective to another.
DPH will be attending this event, and will provide a list of those products that will no longer be allowed in SF mcds. If you wish to still carry that product, the affected group will need to obtain their own mcd permit from DPH for your address.
Make sense? Don’t worry, everyone else is confused, too. This is another example of how California’s medical cannabis industry, which has no strong statewide regulations, “works.”
In other cities, marijuana events where anyone and everyone who has a card can purchase as much cannabis as they can carry, have gone on without issue.
It’s important to note that High Times is careful to site its Medical Cannabis Cup outside of San Francisco, at places like the Cow Palace in Daly City.
HempCon does the same, and this is a reason why.
As of now, Stratton is talking lawsuit, but one thing is certain: pop-up events where marijuana is bought or sold are a thing of the past in San Francisco. That is, unless you choose not to advertise them.