SAN FRANCISCO — Now out of elected office, former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband, Floyd Huen, are embarking on a new venture: a medical marijuana dispensary.
Quan and Huen, a physician, are partnering with Apothecarium to open a dispensary in the Outer Sunset, in a predominantly Chinese American neighborhood in San Francisco. Apothecarium already operates a dispensary in the Castro, but Huen said there is a great need for one in the Sunset.
Some 3,500 patients live in the Sunset and travel to the Castro dispensary, he said.
“There is no cannabis dispensary that caters to that population right now. Our main interest is to introduce the product to that community,” Huen said Monday.
They believe they have wide support: the majority of voters in the Sunset supported a proposition in 1996 that allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes and another measure last November which legalized recreational pot in California, Apothecarium spokesman Eliot Dobris said.
“We think just like everyone has access to a pharmacy in their neighborhood the same should be true for medical marijuana,” Dobris said.
If approved by the city and county of San Francisco, the dispensary would open at 2505 Noriega St. Not everyone in the neighborhood has rolled out the welcome mat. A small group of opponents described as conservative activists went to a community meeting at the Taraval Police Station on Thursday, blocking Huen from speaking to local business owners. “They basically hijacked the meeting,” Huen said.
Frank Lee, of the Pacific Justice Institute, said the organization represents residents concerned that the dispensary would be two blocks away from a child care center. The Southern Poverty Law center has described the institute as an “active anti-LGBT group.”
“The neighbors are very angry about the situation,” Lee said. “I can say that all of the nearby merchants have signed on paper to object to this. Jean Quan and her husband do not respect the people in the Sunset. This is against the will of local residents.”
Quan and Huen have long been supporters of medical marijuana. In 2004, Quan authored the Oakland Medical Cannabis Dispensary legislation, which paved the way for Oakland to become an early supporter of dispensaries. Quan became the Oakland’s first female mayor after winning the 2014 election.
Huen said he began prescribing medical marijuana to patients with chronic pain in 1996 after voters approved Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. Huen, an internal medicine doctor, is a former medical director of Oakland’s Highland Hospital and Over 60 Health Center.
“There is not going to be stoners handing out in front of the store,” he said. “These are your neighbors.”