Anti-Marijuana Rally Draws Chinese Families, Supervisor Candidates

Categories: Marijuana
chow1.jpg
Leon Chow (left) leads the way against medical marijuana dispensaries
Medical marijuana is not a political issue for Leon Chow.

Or so the labor organizer insisted Saturday morning, when he led about 100 mostly Chinese men, women, and children on a mile-long march in opposition of three proposed medical cannabis dispensaries down Mission Street in the Excelsior.

"This is not about my candidacy -- this is about the issue," said Chow, who recently filed papers to challenge incumbent Supervisor John Avalos in the November election.

And perhaps he's right -- but that doesn't mean someone else won't politicize what appears to be a polarizing neighborhood issue in some parts of San Francisco. Joining Chow and the mostly Mandarin-speaking marchers were several perennial District 11 political hopefuls, who said that if they fail to defeat the permits of the Green Cross and two other dispensaries approved by the Planning Commission in February, they're prepared to file a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court to keep the Excelsior free of legal weed.

Challenges could be filed as early as this week with the Board of Appeals, according to Chow.

Chow also worked on the effort, led at the time by Sunset District Supervisor Carmen Chu, to organize neighborhood opposition to a pot club approved for operation at 31st Avenue and Taraval Street. That dispensary was also blocked at the Board of Appeals.

The same issues there are at play in the Excelsior, Chow told SF Weekly. "Adults are concerned about the accessibility [of marijuana] to children,"  said Chow, who said that kids who are caught using marijuana after school say they get it from customers of pot clubs. "I support medical marijuana -- why can't we just have deliveries, instead of storefronts?"

There are currently 22 operating medical cannabis dispensaries in San Francisco, according to records at the Department of Public Health, which writes the rules and collects a permit fee from the city's dispensaries. San Francisco began licensing and regulating dispensaries in 2005. The Green Cross went delivery-only after neighbors, irate with customers double-parking, helped kick it out of its 22nd and Valencia location.

Among the few non-Chinese folks present for Saturday morning's rally were Ahsha Safai, who lost to Avalos in 2008; Steve Currier, president of the Outer Mission Merchants and Neigbors Association; David Hooper of the New Mission Terrace Improvement Association, and several people who identified themselves as longtime neighborhood residents and property owners.

"Marijuana is illegal," said property owner Laurie Hahn, who says she owns a building near the Green Cross's proposed brick-and-mortar location on Mission Street near Silver Avenue. "It's out of control. It should be delivered [to patients], or put into pharmacies where it can be monitored and controlled."

That seemed to be the prevailing thought -- that there's nothing wrong with marijuana per se, but that the city's rules allow for too much "clustering," and the situation on the 5200 block of Mission Street -- where the Planning Commission green-lighted two dispensaries -- is indicative of a need for more regulation.

Less important, it seemed, was marijuana advocates' insistence that the industry generate tax dollars for City Hall as well as to Sacramento, while creating jobs with health care and other benefits.

The marchers took about an hour and a half to march 11 blocks, holding signs reading: "Keep Marijuana Away from Kids" in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. "Gas station yes, marijuana no! Nursing home yes -- marijuana, no!" shouted Chow into his megaphone, to a few scattered responses. "Okay," he said, "we'll try some Chinese."



That seemed to work better, though the marchers' rally cries alternated between Mandarin and English. "No new pot clubs!" a young boy yelled into the microphone. "Nail salon yes, pot club no!" Chow said. "Liquor store yes -- pot club, no!"

The rally drew support as well as derision. Several cars honked their horns while whizzing by in seeming unison. Another vehicle carried several young gentleman holding what appeared to be thin cigars. "This is my neighborhood!" a 49er-gear-clad passenger yelled. "And I love weed."

Also on hand for the rally was Kevin Reed, president and CEO of the Green Cross (which later that day published a request on its Facebook page for Chinese-speaking dispensary customers to speak with media). Several onlookers seemed to side with Reed and three other dispensary employees, who held signs saying "Marijuana is Medicine" and "Respect Local Law" in front of Chow as he climbed into his car.

Not everyone had visceral reactions to the prospect of dispensaries in the Excelsior. A resident of an apartment next to the Green Cross' location said he was "apathetic." Two men who emerged from the barbershop next to one of the 5200-block dispensaries said the crowd was bad for business.

In any case, Chow will have other issues to use as platform planks. With a broad tent, a grassroots network, and close alliances with the Chamber of Commerce and other resourced political operations, he may be a formidable candidate. "The current supervisor is very nervous," he said.

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My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
olliemaxwell
olliemaxwell

It's better than their kids becoming black out drunks and driving intoxicated.

Danny Hoardern
Danny Hoardern

"Adults are concerned about the accessibility [of marijuana] to children,"  said Chow, who said that kids who are caught using marijuana after school say they get it from customers of pot clubs. "I support medical marijuana -- why can't we just have deliveries, instead of storefronts?"

This is the dumbest logic I have heard in awhile - shut down dispensaries because kids are getting pot from customers buying at dispensaries.  Deliver the pot to the customers instead.  How does this change anything?  The customer still ends up with pot!

THE ONLY WAY to stop kids from trying pot is to eradicate every single pot plant - is this ever going to happen?  No way.  You have to be pretty close-minded to think that keeping pot in the black market is the best way to keep pot from children.

Danny Hoardern
Danny Hoardern

If I was a drug dealer or corrupt police officer I would not want legal cannabis either and would do everything in my power to keep the black market thriving.  Screw keeping it legal and giving profits to the government that will 'waste' it on health or education!

Tim Giangiobbe
Tim Giangiobbe

Chow we have had the likes of Dan Lundgren, Steve Cooley and others. We ate them up spit them out and used them as political fertilizers. This may seem benign but is counterintuitive of what is wanted and needed to provide harm reduction and safe access. You are going to lose CHOW unless you see the TRUTH. This is as ignorant as the original scare tactics of REEFER MADNESS. William Randolph Hearst and Harry Anslinger would love it that they still have some citizens fooled. The racist overtones may just surface yet. 

Tim Giangiobbe
Tim Giangiobbe

Is this the polarization wanted.??How dare they play such political games with harm reduction. This is as bad as the grandstanding Prosecutors. Pure political madness. The recent RAND REPORT GIVES CREDIBILITY to the DISPENSARIES. The city needs OTC cannabis sales to stop the activities on corners that have thugs selling drugs. The last thing San Francisco needs is to regress into the REEFER MADNESS of Dan Lundgren and the battle fought after Prop 215 was passed. This is not the place for politics. These citizens have clearly been fed a bunch of misconceptions. The dispensaries have issues to work out Specifically The Green Door needs to police their frontage. The activity on the streets around any dispensary can be curtailed. When they take the issue seriously and cut off violators. The last thing San Francisco needs is to turn over the cannabis trade to the cartels. The citizens who connect the cartels to the dispensaries are sadly mistaken There are exceptions. Those clubs can be weeded out. We don't throw the baby out with the bath water. 

chamber of cockheads
chamber of cockheads

It's no surprise people linked to the Chamber of Commerce organized this protest.  The CoC hates people with disabilities in their neighborhood stores because businesses they represent have not come up to code with ADA accessibility regulations that have been a requirement since the 1980's.  It's cheaper to protest people with disabilities by disguising it as a protest against "drugs."  If these people have never protested illegal street drugs in the neighborhood, and are calling for more liquor stores, their motives obviously have nothing to do with the drug, but rather the disabled people who utilize medicinal cannabis that they don't want in their neighborhoods.

sciencefreak
sciencefreak

These superstitious throwbacks to the primitive era of reefer madness need to read the book "Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us From Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease" so that they can come into the 21st century. The most recent scientific findings reveal that marijuana use=health-positive behavior. The more THC one tales in from marijuana, the less likely they are to develop a number of cancers.  

frelling_cute
frelling_cute

They should close all the liquor stores too then.Really ridiculous what these people are doing.

BudTrader.com
BudTrader.com

 According to the article Mr. Chow was chanting "Liquor store yes -- pot club, no!" 

MaryJane Cannabian
MaryJane Cannabian

China was instrumental in providing the world with our first paper made out of Cannabis Hemp and its medical uses are documented as early as 2737 B.C., Emperor Shen Neng of China was prescribing marijuana tea for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria and poor memory. The plants' popularity as medicine spread throughout Asia, the Middle East and down the eastern coast of Africa, Some Hindu sects in India used marijuana for religious purposes and stress relief. Ancient physicians prescribed marijuana for everything from pain relief to earache to childbirth.Parents, kids can get cannabis anywhere, anytime, regardless of dispensaries.   At least with controlled alcohol people must produce proper ID, ask anyone under age 21 and they'll tell you straight up that it's so much more difficult to buy alcohol and cigarettes than Pot because sales are regulated. Also, teen marijuana use has dropped in States that have legal medical marijuana: "Medical Marijuana Laws Do Not Cause Increased Teen Marijuana Use" - http://www.opposingviews.com/a... yelling "Liquor store yes -- pot club, no!" Really?  They're okay with violence inducing, addictive booze but not Medical Marijuana for people sick and in pain and dying from Cancer?I find great sad irony in this development.  Check out some history we never learned in school, this happened in Canada but it's knowledge worth sharing.  Opium Parlours operated in British Columbia for well over 20 years before the Canadian Government even knew they existed! http://pasttensevancouver.word...

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

When defending their dangerous and counter-productive war on (some) drugs, prohibitio­nists like Leon Chow often cite our obligation to 'The Children', but prohibition­ has made all of these 'at present illegal' substances available in schools, and even prisons. So how has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has also raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootleggin­g in the United States. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has creating a prison-for­-profit synergy with evil drug lords and terrorists. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has removed many of our cherished and important civil liberties. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has put many previously unknown and contaminate­d drugs on our streets. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has escalating Murder, Theft, Muggings, and Burglaries­. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has overcrowd­ing the courts and prisons, thus making it increasing­ly impossible to curtail the people who are really hurting and terrorizing­ others. How has that helped our kids?

Prohibition­ has evolved local street gangs into transnatio­nal enterprise­s with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling­ vast swaths of territory, and with significant social and military resources at their disposal. How has that helped our kids?

Kevin Hunt
Kevin Hunt

I wouldn't want kids using any drugs, but alcohol is way worse than marijuana.  Liquor store - NO!  

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

California isn't even in the top 17 States for youth use of cannabis. http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-20...

Of the 17 listed, only 7 were States with medicinal cannabis patient protection laws at the time the list was compiled.

Quit blaming medicinal cannabis for your inability to parent your own children.

Clonekiller1
Clonekiller1

Hahaha.. What bullocks.Young boy says, " Nail salon yes, pot club no!, " to which Chow replies, " Liquor store yes, pot club no! " What hypocrisy.

smartdoc
smartdoc

 Binge drinkers who also smoke marijuana may suffer less brain damage than drinkers who do not smoke marijuana, according to a recent study done by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and published by Neurotoxicology and Teratology magazine.

smartdoc
smartdoc

 Nail salons are far more harmful to health than are pot clubs, those terribly toxic coloring agents and shellacs are poisonous to the liver and to the central nervous system and are powerfully carcinogenic. In fact the cannabinoids in marijuana protect the brain from injury resulting from chemical toxicity, from alcohol consumption or inhaling nail polish, and from head injuries or stroke. read "Marijuana Gateway to Health"

MikeParent
MikeParent

"THE CHILDREN" If they really cared for the children they'd legalize and regulate marijuana. If they really wanted to keep any substance out of the hands of "The Children" they first must take control of distribution away from black market dealers. They haven't accomplished that in 40+ years at a taxpayers cost in the hundreds of billions. It's time to treat marijuana as we do alcohol. My 27 year old daughter still gets carded when she buys alcohol, yet your 13 year old can buy anything the black market dealer has for a price whether it be money or "something else". Prohibitionists, your path to hell may be paved with good intentions, but hell is the final destination, none the less. FACT: Your kids have a better chance dying at the hands of someone enforcing marijuana laws than they do from ingesting it. LEAP member, NYPD, ret.

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