Pot au chocolat: The Scharffen Berger decision

In a closed session meeting last night, the Berkeley City Council agreed to let a medical marijuana dispensary move into the old Scharffen Berger building on the corner of Heinz and 7th Street. A number of nearby organizations, including the Ecole Bilingue private school, supermarket Berkeley Bowl West and a local developer, had opposed the move.

The dispensary, the Berkeley Patients Group, will move from its existing site on San Pablo Avenue.

The Ecole Bilingue objected to the move because Berkeley’s Measure JJ bans medical marijuana operations from locating within 1,000 feet of schools, but the measure was restricted to public schools. The school argued that the distinction was unfair. Measure JJ also allowed medical marijuana dispensaries from locating anywhere in the city (while following the 1,000-foot rule) without a public hearing, which is why Berkeley Patients Group did not face a planning hearing for the move.

In a report on the decision in the Oakland Tribune,  a lawyer for the local developer, Wareham Development, said the company may still sue to stop the zoning permit and overturn parts of Measure JJ.


Photo by JoelPK from Flickr