Amsterdam on Mission Street? Proposed Cannabis Club and Coffee Shop Creates Concern

The Bernalwood reader hotline went ring-a-ding-ding over the weekend, and when we picked up the line this message greeted us:

We received a permit application the other day for a new Cannabis club near Mission St. and Precita. (3139 Mission Street to be exact). And to be even more specific, they want to open a “coffee shop/cannabis dispensary.” It will be directly across the street from Roccapulco, Nap’s and El Rio.

I want to know if other Bernal folks are aware, and if they’re not, I was wondering if you could help spread the word.

I’m sure there will be supporters for the club and the anti-supporters. Either way, I think neighbors should know.

It’s slightly disturbing to hear that they want to couple a cannabis shop with a coffee-shop (Does that mean teens can go in? Does that mean they can have extended hours?). Do we really need another cannabis club? There’s already a cannabis club three streets away (at 29th and Mission).

Really?! A proposal to create a combination cannabis club and coffee shop?! Is Bernal Heights having its Amsterdam Moment??!! Bernalwood dispatched our satellite truck to 3139 Mission to investigate.

3139 Mission Street

Turns out, 3139 Mission was most recently used as an administrative and billing center for St. Luke’s Hospital, and there is a Planning Department permit application notce affixed to the front gate. Sure enough, the notice says the structure is proposed for use as a medical cannabis dispensary and retail coffee store:

The building itself was built in 1969, and it has one of those unfortunate facades that were common during the period, when architects adapted to Vietnam-era protest movements (and/or the arrival of the Planet of the Apes movie franchise) by creating bunker-like structures with few street-level windows to smash during civil unrest. Which is to say, it’s unlikely that the new cannabis will ever offer a warm, welcoming Socha- or Starbucks-style entrace.

3139 Mission Street

It seems clear that our tipster (who asked to remain anonymous) is not a fan of the proposal. Fair enough. But in reference to the specific questions:

Does that mean teens can go in? Does that mean they can have extended hours?

Almost certainly not. The permitting framework that governs all medical cannabis dispensaries in the City would supersede the retail coffee part of the business, and those permitting regulations explicitly prohibit persons under 18 years of age from entering a dispensary, prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, and require cannabis dispensaries to close by 10 pm nightly. Likewise, the City Planning Department’s Letter of Determination established that, per code, the proposed facility at 3139 Mission is not within 1000 feet of any primary or secondary schools.

That means there’s no need to press the usual NIMBY hot-buttons of protecting the children and safeguarding the night — regardless of whether or not you think the neighborhood needs another dispensary.

Inevitably, however, the cannabis dispensary/coffee shop will impact local businesses. For example, the proposed facility is just a few doors down from Baby Blues BBQ, which happens to be delicious. It is reasonable to assume that Baby Blues BBQ would profit handsomely from the arrival of the dispensary/coffee shop, as a steady stream of munchie-afflicted patrons from the latter will drift down the street to satiate their cravings for hearty grilled meats.

Indeed, the combination of cannabis, coffee, and BBQ could turn this stretch of Mission Street into a Vortex of Vice, not least because the storefront that today houses Baby Blues BBQ was once home to Disernia’s Pharmacy — and to this day the building retains much of its original drug store signage.

Which brings us to the biggest bombshell of all…

If you stand right in front of the proposed dispensary location at 3139 Mission and look up at the signage left over from the pharmacy days, two of the signs align *perfectly* to conflate DRUGS and LIQUOR in a subliminal acrostic that could play havoc on the weed-addled minds of future dispensary patrons. See for yourself:

3139 Mission Street

Subtle? Yes. Clever? Extremely. Diabolical? Very!

Bernalwood will keep you posted on this cannabis/coffee proposal as it develops.

PHOTOS: Top, illustration via Hocus Locus. All other photos by Telstar Logistics.

17 thoughts on “Amsterdam on Mission Street? Proposed Cannabis Club and Coffee Shop Creates Concern

  1. Lame. Obviously I’m 110% in favor of making it easy for people who are ill to get their medication, but creating a “cannabis dispensary/coffee shop” just helps bolster some people’s attitudes that dispensaries are really just a place for potheads to hang out and get their fake prescriptions “filled.” I really wish they’d focus on creating a more pharmacy-like atmosphere. Do they really need the extra income from coffee sales? Anyway, just ranting, really.

  2. I find the use of the term “concern” a bit odd, here. I propose it be altered to “Proposed Cannabis Club and Coffee Shop Creates Hope for Amsterdamization of Mission St.”

  3. Do we really need another dispensary? Isn’t there one on 29th and Mission already? Not that I really have an opinion about it one way or the other … but coffee and cannabis seems like an odd combination.

  4. GG: hate to break it to you, but in fact dispensaries are places for potheads to hang out and get their fake prescriptions filled.

    (And for the record: that’ s just fine.)

    • Whether or not you think it’s fine, it makes it harder for those trying to protect legitimate medical use to get support. Kind of like how those people who get fake “service dog” tags for their animals so they can bring them anywhere they want make it harder for truly handicapped people to bring their service animals with them without getting hassled.

      If you think everyone should be able to smoke weed that’s fine, but I doubt anyone would argue that it’s more important for people who really need it because they have cancer, etc., to have easy access.

  5. Coffee and cannabis are the only drugs I have any interest in.

    I’ve never heard someone pine for a more pharmacy-like atmosphere. It’s a medical marijuana dispensary. Some customers are patients medicating specific ilnesses. Others might not meet most definitions of sick, aka they’re just in there smoking pot. I don’t anticipate too much trouble either way.

    The attitude we really need to stop bolstering is the idea that smoking pot is a criminal act, or a cause of concern above and beyond that of a bar.

  6. That’s a truly ugly building so I hope that whatever they do, they will spiff the place up a little. Maybe a huge mural of Cesar Chavez with a bong.

  7. Like all other California cannabis dispensaries, only card carrying members would be allowed into the dispensary. As long as it’s a non-profit and they’re going by all the rules, I support their right to establish.

  8. I just want to say that I’m an anti-anti-supporter, a third way group that you did not mention in your otherwise excellent coverage of this brouhahaha.

  9. To clarify alot of misconception the proposed mcd/coffee shop at 3139 Mission st will not be one entity. The coffee shop will occupy the front of the building creating a storefront with outdoor seating for people to enjoy high end coffee and pasteries and in no way will serve any cannabis products. The MCD will occupy the back of the building and have a seperate entrance from the coffee shop and only qualified patients will be able to enter the Dispensary. The Dispensary will not allow any smoking or vaporizing on site.

  10. Absolutely top notch reporting of the issue!!

    I propose the anti-pot-club people donate $10 to their closest school’s PTA, and enjoy the fact that they will have easily and clearly offset any damage this proposal will do to the community, plus they may even score a tax deduction. Win-win.

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