SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - As California gets ready to welcome the sale of legal, recreational marijuana, San Francisco is trying to stay one step ahead.
The city on Tuesday created a new Office of Cannabis to handle everything from permits to complaints. Now the city embarks on a six-month effort to make sure the city is ready for the rollout.
You've heard of the Gold Rush of 1849, now San Francisco is bracing for the what's being called the "Green Rush" of 2018. One dispensary employee says they've had to be underground for some time.
No longer in the shadows, medical marijuana dispensaries like Sparc on Mission Street are preparing to sell pot to recreational users come January 1st.
"My personal opinion is things are probably going to be bigger than we anticipate," said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy who sponsored the legislation to create the city's first 'Office of Cannabis'.
"What this does is set up a one-stop shop so that we have a centralized place in order to regulate this to make sure we do this safely, appropriately," said Sheehy who represents District 8, which includes the Castro.
In the past, several departments including fire, public health and building inspection oversaw the medical marijuana industry.
While those agencies will remain involved in the permit processes, Sheehy says it will be streamlined through one office, consisting of three workers and a $700,000 budget.
"The cost of the office is covered by the fees that are accessed on people who are selling or who are growing or the whole marijuana industry," said Sheehy. "[It] basically supports its own regulation."