Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Stay Open Despite Federal Deadline

On the day the federal government wished HopeNet to close, the operators of San Francisco's oldest licensed and taxpaying medical marijuana dispensary prepared accordingly: They grilled hot dogs.

“We made about 220,” said Catherine Smith, whose Ninth Street medical cannabis dispensary is in line to be shut down by the federal Justice Department.

But for now, it's chow down — and dispense medical marijuana. The wieners went to some of the people who were getting cannabis in flower, concentrate, and edible form until the dispensary closed at 9 p.m.

HopeNet was one of three dispensaries — along with 208 Valencia Caregivers and Shambhala Healing Center on Mission Street — whose landlords received warning letters from Melinda Haag, the United States Attorney for Northern California. Dated Feb. 21, the letters gave the landlords 45 days — or until Friday, April 6 — to shut the dispensaries down or face stiff prison terms and property forfeitures.

Thus far, Haag's office had been batting a perfect five-for-five in San Francisco. But while both HopeNet and Shambhala remained open on Friday (and 208 Valencia, we were told), the Justice Department's perfect streak might be coming to an end.

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