This week the San Francisco Planning Commission approved former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband Floyd Huen’s controversial permit application for a medical marijuana dispensary in the Sunset neighborhood.
Screams of “not fair” followed the vote, as community members– many who identify as Chinese–listed various concerns they felt a pot dispensary would bring–namely strong odors, high traffic and a negative influence on the neighborhood’s youth.
None of the group’s contentions had any legal bearing, however, and were not valid to block the proposal.
“This dispensary on Noriega is very close to schools I have worked with,” said Lynn Fox, a retired San Francisco State University secondary education professor and promoter of drug-free schools. “A lot of children can be affected by this.”
Both Quan and her husband, Internal medicine doctor Floyd Huen, have long been supporters of medical marijuana. Huen has often prescribed it to his patients dealing with chronic pain since the passing of Proposition 215, the famous initiative that legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996. As a San Francisco councilwoman in 2004, Quan wrote the first legislation which paved the way for Oakland to become an early supporter of dispensaries.
The commission’s 5-1 vote allows Quan and Huen to open the Sunset’s districts first medical marijuana dispensary and the region’s first bilingual (Cantonese/English) medical pot store, according to the city’s planning department. Huen plans on the dispensary being a cultural hub for the Sunsets predominately Chinese residents, many of whom hold negative views of cannabis.
“This has been an education in Bay Area politics,” Quan told the planning commission. “A lot of people were told things that were absolute lies. They were told it was illegal, it was poisonous, that we were going to give it out” like candy to children.
Quan and Huen plan to open the dispensary, which will be both brick and mortar as well as delivery, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 2505 Noriega St.–previously home of Ace Pharmacy. Huen will also be partnering with Apothecarium, a medical marijuana dispensary in the Castro which serves an estimated 3,500 patients who live in the Sunset. One standard hallmark of the dispesary is that the couple plans to offer discounts to low-income patients and veterans.
While currently unnamed, the dispensary is slated to open sometime in 2018.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.