Legendary Haight Street Gets a New, Legal King of Weed

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Richard is thinking well beyond his soon-to-be cannabis shop.

THIS PAST VALENTINE’S Day, Shawn Richard stood before the urban center commission and made the case for why the board should let him open the primary cannabis dispensary within the city’s legendary Upper Haight neighborhood.

Because the epicenter of the weed-fueled counterculture movement, Given the Haight’s legacy would be historically significant. But it might be notable for quite its physical address: Richard is that the first approval in San Francisco’s cannabis equity program, which is meant to "lower barriers to cannabis licensing for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs"—whether that’s for growing, distribution, or dispensaries.

Free decades ago Richard was sitting in Folson prison, doing a stint for delivering cocaine. He was born in Heights, and passed his childhood within the bar and commenced selling drugs at 13, and sooner was kept in prison but again started selling them upon release. on the other hand after his brother started following his path and was shot. Only at that time Richard left this business and opened a non-profitable foundation against illegal gun using and violence.

Soon the commission gave him permission to open a store. This gave a good opportunity for people who were full of drug restrictions, especially black. White and black people were consuming cannabis at an identical rate, while the blacks were fourfold more likely to be arrested for that.

But because the drug remains considered a Schedule I substance by the central, launching a business has extra hurdles. “Traditionally, with most businesses, folks have access to banks to get loans,” Holcombe says. “That just doesn't exist.” If you don’t have already got the cash, you’re visiting have a tough time lining up the capital needed to rent a storefront, acquire stock, or pay workers.

The biggest takeaway as researchers and activists trudge through the event of equity programs: There’s no universal template. A rural place like Humboldt County in Northern California is literally and metaphorically miles off from metropolis or Oakland, and even the urban center and Oakland are miles aloof from each other due to demographics and therefore the rate of gentrification.

“That has been, I feel, the foremost challenging part,” says Valencia. “You use data and you create criteria out of this data, but it has been very difficult to justify the factors and to even qualify for the standards.”