Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Relocation of Apothecarium marijuana dispensary wins approval

10513374_1093722310639384_4753470233835912142_nThe city’s planning commission has signed off on the relocation plans for a medical cannabis dispensary in the Castro district.

The oversight body voted 4-0 at its meeting this afternoon (Thursday, April 21) to support the Apothecarium moving into the shuttered Shanghai Restaurant space at 2029 Market Street.

The relocation plan had broad community support, including from the residents who live in the condos in the new building. The planning department received no letters in opposition to the move, and the commissioners voted basically without comment in approving it.

“We are moving because we are losing our lease,” co-owner Ryan Hudson told the commissioners.

Four people spoke at today’s hearing in support of the Apothecarium.

“They are nothing but a model business in the neighborhood,” said Castro/Upper Market Street Community Benefit District Executive Director Andrea Aiello.

The Bay Area Reporter first reported in September on the medical marijuana provider’s desire to move out of the small storefront at the corner of Church, Market and 14th streets it has operated out of since 2011.

Last year San Francisco Zoning Administrator Scott F. Sanchez ruled that the vacant ground floor eatery space up the block from the Apothecarium could house a medical cannabis dispensary.

In March Apothecarium officials told the B.A.R. that an investment group had bought the space for an undisclosed amount at the end of 2015 with the intent to then lease it to the dispensary. (One online listing had it for sale at a cost of nearly $4.2 million.)

It has signed a 10-year lease with multiple long-term options to extend it. The Apothecarium is planning a “fairly significant” remodel.

Architect Vincent Gonzaga has been hired to work with local interior design firm Urban Chalet on the project, which is expected to maintain the Apothecarium’s current neo-Victorian look but with a contemporary twist.

The dispensary’s current space at 2095 Market Street is 1,100 square feet, and oftentimes, customers must wait outside to be let in the doors. The Shanghai space is five times the size at 5,207 square feet allowing more room not only for the staff but also to ensure customers no longer will have to wait outside during peak times. The plans call for 2,858 square feet accessible to patrons.

There will be a multipurpose room as part of the design allowing for the dispensary to hold its classes on-site as well as meetings of its philanthropic board. Over the last five years it has distributed more than $300,000 to local groups.

The proposed hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. There will be no consumption of marijuana on site, nor will there be any cultivation at the space.

As for the Apothecarium’s current space, the zoning allows another medical cannabis dispensary to move into it within the next three years. Thereafter, the zoning would lapse and would need to be re-approved by the planning commission if such a business wanted to operate there.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 21, 2016 @ 2:50 pm PST
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