San Francisco

Plan For Pot Dispensary in SF's Union Square Meets Opposition

Plans to open a cannabis dispensary in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square next to luxury retailers has a hit a snag.

One big name retailer doesn’t want the shop there, and it's not alone.

The storefront on Geary Street where the dispensary would be located is on the same block as Chanel and Jimmy Choo. Opponents say the location just isn’t a good fit for a pot dispensary. Those behind the shop say they’re looking to cater to upscale customers.

Along Geary Street, near Stockton Street, shoppers hunting for luxury brands can find it all in Union Square.

"It kind of makes me think of our own Beverly Hills," said Tami Barry, who works nearby and thinks the dispensary doesn't fit in. "You have Chanel, you have Jimmy Choo, you have Neiman Marcus. A dispensary, no offense to anyone, I feel like that is going to attract a different element."

Alexis Bronson has high hopes for the retail space that would house the pot dispensary. Bronson is an equity applicant, one of several people who previously were busted for selling weed on the streets and are now looking for a new start. He’s teamed with a dispensary operator called Have a Heart.

"We wanted this location because it’s a really good location for a high-end boutique cannibas dispensary that we would like to open up," Bronson said.

But two Union Square neighbors, including Chanel, have formally challenged it. Karin Flood, executive director of the Union Square business improvement district, agrees with the opponents.

"Luxury retailers want to make sure they are next to other luxury retailers that are consistent with their brands to cultivate that shopping experience," Flood said.

She says the district is supportive of cannabis retailers but perhaps not in the heart of the luxury zone.

Both sides will be able to state their case before the Planning Commission in February.

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