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Ord. 189-16, approved October 14, 2016, effective November 13, 2016, and becoming operative February 11, 2017, added provisions designated as a new Ch. 12X, Prohibiting City Travel and Contracting in States That Allow Discrimination Against LGBT Individuals, and redesignated former Ch. 12X, Policy Making Marijuana Offenses the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority, as Ch. 96B.
This chapter shall be known as the Policy Making Marijuana Offenses the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority.
The purpose of this chapter is to:
(a) Make investigation, citations, arrests, and property seizures from adults for marijuana offenses the City and County of San Francisco’s lowest law enforcement priority;
(b) Establish a City and County policy supporting changes in state and federal laws that support a system of taxation and regulation for adult use of marijuana; and
(c) Transmit notification of the enactment of this chapter to State and Federal elected officials who represent the City and County of San Francisco.
(a) The federal government’s war on drugs has failed. Otherwise law-abiding adults are being arrested and imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana offenses, which is clogging courts and jails in California. Each year California spends over $150 million of taxpayer money enforcing marijuana laws. Decades of arresting millions of marijuana users have failed to control marijuana use or reduce its availability. Minorities are disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws, with African Americans five times more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses.
(b) San Francisco should determine its marijuana policies locally, not hand them over to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Many recreational marijuana users are productive citizens who work and pay taxes. Current marijuana policies continue to needlessly harm medical marijuana patients. Law enforcement resources would be better spent fighting serious and violent crimes. Making adult marijuana offenses San Francisco’s lowest law enforcement priority will reduce expenditures on law enforcement and punishment of these offenses.
(c) It is the hope of the citizens of San Francisco that the Federal and California State governments will change the laws to tax and regulate marijuana, so as to eliminate costs and problems of prohibition, keep marijuana off the streets and away from children, and raise tax revenues for vital public services.
For the purposes of this ordinance, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows:
(a) “Adult” means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.
(b) “San Francisco law enforcement officer” means any peace officer employed by the City and County of San Francisco, and any other employee of the City and County who is authorized to engage in law enforcement activity. “San Francisco law enforcement officer” does not include the District Attorney or anyone acting on behalf of the District Attorney.
(c) “Lowest law enforcement priority” means that all law enforcement activities related to offenses other than marijuana offenses by adults shall be given a higher priority than law enforcement activities related to marijuana offenses by adults, except as provided below.
(d) “Marijuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin.
(a) San Francisco Law Enforcement Officers shall make law enforcement activity relating to marijuana offenses by adults their lowest law enforcement priority. Law enforcement activities include, but are not limited to, investigation, citation, arrest, and seizure of property.
(b) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall not apply to the following:
(1) Distribution or sale of marijuana to minors;
(2) Possession, use, sale or distribution of marijuana by minors;
(3) Distribution or sale of marijuana on public property (including public streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings or other public property) or within view of any person on public property, provided that the lowest law enforcement shall apply to distribution or sale of marijuana occurring entirely within a private residence or other private building, except as otherwise provided in Sections 96B.5(b)(1), (2) or (5);
(4) Driving under the influence; or
(5) A marijuana offense that occurs in conjunction with or is related to an act or threat of violence, or where law enforcement officers reasonably believe that the marijuana offense poses a substantial threat of serious physical harm to the public.
(c) The City and County of San Francisco urges the District Attorney to adopt a policy making prosecution of adults for marijuana offenses, as described herein, the lowest prosecutorial priority.
(d) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall apply to cooperating with federal agents to arrest, cite, investigate, prosecute, or seize property from adults for marijuana offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy, where those marijuana offenses do not occur in conjunction with other criminal activity.
(e) San Francisco law enforcement officers and other City and County employees shall not accept or renew formal deputization or commissioning by a Federal law enforcement agency if such deputization or commissioning is for the sole or primary purpose of investigating, citing, arresting, or seizing property from adults for marijuana offense included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy.
(f) The City and County of San Francisco shall not accept any Federal funding that would be used solely or primarily to investigate, cite, arrest, or seize property from adults for marijuana offenses.
It shall be the policy of the City and County of San Francisco to support policies to tax and regulate cannabis for adults.
In undertaking the enforcement of this Ordinance, the City is assuming an undertaking only to promote the general welfare. It is not assuming, nor is it imposing on its officers and employees, an obligation for breach of which it is liable in money damages to any person who claims that such breach proximately caused injury.
The provisions of this Ordinance are declared to be separate and severable. The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or portion of this Ordinance, or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstances, shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this Ordinance, or the validity of its application to other persons or circumstances.