In most California cities — like many in the North Bay — the fight over new dispensaries pits pro- and anti-cannabis partisans against one another. Prohibitionists, often couching their objections in euphemistic language, go head-to-head with cannabis businesses and their stoner neighbors. Relatively small problems are blown out of proportion, and NIMBYs often get the final say.
In San Francisco, however, few residents are publicly anti-pot. In one Southeastern San Francisco neighborhood, for example, the debate over whether to open a new dispensary is centered around concerns about equity, fairness, and prioritizing small businesses over corporate chains. It’s a marked shift that shows how San Francisco attitudes toward cannabis are still evolving.
The new dispensary, located at 5 Leland Ave. in Visitacion Valley, is on the same block as the dispensary Elevated SF. In 2017 and 2018, the creation of any dispensary on this block — Elevated or the 5 Leland location — was heavily contested. Elevated was at one point accused of faking signatures on a petition to open the shop.
Today, that’s all bong water under the bridge and neighbors are concerned with the prospect of the 5 Leland Ave. shop — referred to as “Connected SF”