A national cannabis retail chain has been cleared to open a new dispensary in San Francisco at a vacant storefront in Cow Hollow.
MedMen, a California-based company with a location in San Jose, recieved approval from the Planning Commission last week to open a location at 1861 Union St. No on-site consumption will be allowed.
The company’s latest location will be run by Malcolm Joshua Weitz, a Mission District native who was previously incarcerated for cannabis offenses.
Wietz partnered with MedMen to open the dispensary under San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity Program, which is intended to lower barriers for people impacted by cannabis criminalization and other criteria by waiving permit fees.
“The sacrifices that have led up to this point, my journey as a garage cannabis seller to a felon under unfair drug policies to political activist, to a legal cannabis entrepreneur, is my driving force,” Weitz told the Planning Commission. “Most importantly, I look forward to having a community impact and being known in our neighborhood, not only for selling quality and distinctive products but for being involved and a true partner of the Cow Hollow community.”
The dispensary is one of at least two that MedMen has proposed opening in San Francisco. The other would be located in Union Square.
Weitz has also been approved to run a Mirage Medicinal dispensary at 985 Folsom St. and has two other pending projects.
Supporters of the project say the corridor has had difficulty gaining foot traffic to keep businesses healthy and that the dispensary would bring added security, while opponents argue the project would raise health and safety issues in the area.
The project is supported by the Union Street Association and opposed by the Golden Gate Valley Neighborhood Association.
There is only one other dispensary in District 2, where the project is proposed. With 37 of 151 commercial spaces empty, the district has a 24.5 percent vacancy rate, according to the Planning Department.
Planning Commission President Joel Koppel and Commissioner Sue Diamond said it is important for cannabis dispensaries to be spread across The City instead of concentrated in certain areas.
South of Market, Civic Center and the Mission have the most dispensaries approved and underway, The City’s cannabis storefront map shows. Of the roughly 30 approved recreational dispensaries, 19 remain under construction, according to the Planning Department.
“I think a person like Malcolm is ideal as an equity application for this location,” Koppel said. “We’ve been approving these dispensaries very often in the east side of The City, south side of The City…it’s important that we deeply spread the excess to all neighborhoods.”
MedMen has targeted December for construction.