San Francisco

City selects applicant to move forward with Upper Haight recreational cannabis dispensary

After a period of review, San Francisco's Office of Cannabis has selected an applicant to move forward with the process for opening a recreational cannabis retail store in the Upper Haight.

Three applicants were all vying for retail storefronts in the narrow slice of "green zone" that opened up on upper Haight Street last year, when the Board of Supervisors voted to reduce the buffer zone around schools and churches.

The applicant selected to move forward, Cole Ashbury Group, LLC, is gunning for the current home of zine store Silver Sprocket, at 1685 Haight St. (at Cole). 

It's led by local residents John Delaplane and Shawn M. Richard and consultant Conor Johnston, a former legislative aide to Mayor London Breed in her previous role as District 5 Supervisor. 

While the dispensary is far from a done deal, Cole Ashbury Group is now allowed to begin community outreach, in the hopes of clearing the necessary permitting hurdles on the way to opening its doors. 

Though recreational dispensaries have only been in place in SF since January, the Office of Cannabis has stipulated an early and growing list of requirements for applicants to clear permitting guidelines, including a good neighbor policy and a community benefit agreement that mandate a focus on community involvement and goodwill.

To that end, members hit the street Friday to circulate get-to-know-you promotional materials and introduce themselves to local merchants. 

Cole Ashbury Group member Quentin Platt, the COO of medical cannabis startup Equinox Botanicals, said Friday that the group was excited to begin the community outreach phase.

He said that if the permitting process goes well, Silver Sprocket's storefront would require little enough work that the group might optimistically be ready to open for business in a year. 

It also remains a possibility that local neighborhood groups, like the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, may ask the city to allow all three of the business applicants to undergo community review, in the hopes of selecting the one that best fits the community. We'll keep you posted on the process as it unfolds. 

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