Bay Area/ Oakland/ Politics & Govt
Published on June 13, 2017
Wednesday: Bay Area Cannabis Pros Discuss Industry's FuturePhoto: Tinou Bao/flickr

Last November, 56 percent of California voted to legalize recreational marijuana. While medical use has been legal in the state for more than 20 years, the passage of Proposition 64 promises to open new doors for cannabis fans and entrepreneurs alike.

Does that mean cannabis cafés, gyms and bakeries will soon pop up on every corner? Officials are drawing up new regulations before January 1, 2018, when the state is required to begin issuing permits that allow businesses to sell marijuana to recreational users.

To help make sense of what a cannabis-friendly future may hold for local communities, the Mechanics’ Institute is hosting a panel tomorrow, June 14, to pick the minds of cannabis entrepreneurs and activists working here in the Bay Area.

Photo: Oaksterdam University/Facebook

Wednesday evening’s discussion, titled “The Future of Cannabis,” will feature:

  • Jean Quan, the former Oakland mayor who’s currently working with her physician husband and The Apothecarium to open a dispensary in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood;
  • Amanda Conley, an attorney specializing in the cannabis industry and the co-founder of Bay Area chapter of Women Grow;
  • Andrea Unsworth, founder of the Bay Area delivery-only dispensary StashTwist and co-founder of Supernova Women, which promotes the advancement of women of color in the cannabis industry,
  • Nina Parks, a San Francisco-born community organizer who runs Mirage Medicinal, her family's holistic cannabis lifestyle brand. 

"I’m hoping Wednesday’s conversation will give us all a better idea of where the industry is headed, especially with regard to how it operates in the Bay Area," said panel moderator Walter Thompson, who serves as a city editor at Hoodline.

"Medical marijuana has been legal for almost a generation, and there are scores of dispensaries and delivery services in Oakland and San Francisco. But in the Sunset, residents are vehemently opposed to opening the first westside cannabis dispensary," he continued.

"Some opponents express concern about marijuana bringing crime or undesirable behavior, but I think many are also concerned about changing neighborhood character."

"Recreational marijuana and medical cannabis are a big part of Bay Area culture and economy, so I’m hoping we’ll have a fairly diverse audience and a lively conversation," Thompson also noted.

For more information on the panel's speakers and to reserve tickets—free for Mechanics’ Institute members and $15 for nonmembers—click below.