Guns to Ganja: Planning Commission Approves New Dispensary on Mission Street


In a unanimous vote, the San Francisco Planning Commission yesterday approved a proposal to re-establish the Bernal Heights Cooperative dispensary at 3185 Mission Street, the storefront that had previously been home to the High Bridge Arms gun shop.

As you may recall, Bernal Heights Cooperative used to operate from 33 29th Street. However, after some internal turmoil and a change of building ownership, Bernal Heights Cooperative had to depart, and a new dispensary called Harvest now occupies the 29th St. space.  Meanwhile, around the corner on Mission Street, the former High Bridge Arms store has been sitting empty ever since San Francisco’s last gun shop closed in late 2015.

Yesterday’s Planning Commission vote was a key step in Bernal Heights Cooperative’s plan to re-open in La Lengua. Joshua Sabatini from the San Francisco Examiner provides additional detail about the business plan:

“It’s been a work in progress ever since 2015 to just put it in a new home,” [Bernal Heights Cooperative’s Sean] Killen said. That included paying $5,000 in rent for the former gun shop site since last year and also maintaining a site outside The City and offering a delivery service to longstanding patients.

The application is also among the first batch of dispensary applications to heard by the Planning Commission since voters approved Proposition 64 in November, which legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.

The application has another distinction. Killen on Tuesday signed an agreement, which was provided to the San Francisco Examiner, with United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 648, a local chapter of labor union United Food and Commercial Workers that represents a growing number workers in the marijuana industry across California.

The union is in talks with City College of San Francisco to create an apprenticeship training program for the medical marijuana industry beginning in the spring 2018 semester.

Killen’s agreement supports employees organizing and agrees to certain worker standards, such as at least $20 an hour in the first year of employment. Killen said it is the first such agreement with UFCW Local 648 and a dispensary. He also committed to hiring local apprentices through UFCW.

Separately, anyone else remember this classic Saturday Night Live skit from 1977?  (Note: young Bill Murray cameo!Knock on wood, that approach to keeping good-paying jobs in America is no joke today:

IMAGE: Photo and illustration by Bernalwood

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