For the kids?

HERBWISE: An SF cannabis dispensary gets shut down because of its proximity to Marshall Elementary -- but the school's principal says the actual bad neighbors remain

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The feds made the Medithrive dispensary close because it was in a school zone. Its liquor store neighbor remains.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY CAITLIN DONOHUE

caitlin@sfbg.com

HERBWISE Mission District dispensary Medithrive has started doing home deliveries. Since Nov. 22 its medical marijuana patients can have buds, tinctures, Auntie Dolores' brownie bits, and more delivered straight to their apartment doors.

So why are Medithrive customers and staff members peeved? Because the new feature isn't an expansion in services — it's a forced shift in the co-op's business structure. The dispensary was compelled to close its doors on 1933 Mission Street after a Sept. 28 letter from Department of Justice attorney Melinda Haag threatened its landlord with jail time if Medithrive didn't cease operations in the space within 45 days. (Full disclosure: Medithrive is a Guardian advertiser)

The feds' given reason was Medithrive's proximity to Marshall Elementary School, located a 745-foot walk (according to Google Maps) from the dispensary door.

But Marshall's principal Peter Avila wasn't consulted on the matter. When called for comment by the Guardian, he said that he had bigger safety concerns.

"Right next door to Medithrive is a liquor store," Avila said, adding that there is also a methadone clinic across the street from his school. "We have to deal with people passed out on the property, people smoking — those are more the issues than people buying medical marijuana."

The principal says he patrols Marshall's immediate neighborhood three to four times a day, dealing with drug addicts, people with mental problems, and the Mission's homeless population. He called the dispensary "discreet" and never saw any cannabis usage by dispensary patients. Indeed: "They looked pretty much like the people who were coming out of the Walgreens [down the street]." In the past, Medithrive has offered to sponsor health education at Marshall.

Regardless, the dispensary's Mission Streets doors are shuttered now. On many days, a staff member stands outside, handing out flyers announcing the delivery service to customers unaware that walk-up sales have ceased.

"We're actually not in such a unique position," said Medithrive community outreach liaison Hunter Holliman. The Tenderloin's Divinity Tree and the Mission's Mr. Nice Guy dispensaries also closed their doors this autumn in light of similar school zone notifications sent to their landlords. The landlord of Marin County marijuana activist Lynnette Shaw, founder of Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, was also hit. Shaw intends to fight to stay open.

Holliman says the shift to delivery services has been unexpectedly popular with Medithrive's customers and allows the dispensary to service patients unable to physically access the storefront location — but it's not without its challenges. Operations have been transient since the co-op is unable to even stage deliveries from the space on Mission Street. The day that the Guardian called, a voicemail informed patients that due to high call volume they'd have to leave a message so that dispensary staff could call them back. Once contacted by a helpful "budtender," it took a little over an hour for the order to arrive.

Although Medithrive let go of many employees in its initial closure, it's hired nearly all back in the transition to the labor-intensive delivery services. The dispensary is still hoping to secure another brick and mortar location, but permitting for new dispensaries has stalled at the city level.

Even if the dispensary's been booted from its space, at least Medithrive patients still have access to medical cannabis — for now. Holliman is convinced that Bay Area dispensaries haven't seen the end of legal challenges. "I'm sure there's more to come," he said grimly. "The feds are really serious about this." 

Medithrive's delivery-only menu is available at www.medithrive.com

Comments

What is not mentioned in the guardian article (besodes the fact that Medithrive is one of the Guardians biggest advertisers) is that this dispensary got what it deserves. Why? well for starters:

1.Openly bragged about how much money they were making - A quote from managing partner Dimia says it all - " We drove revenue in 2011, now we are going to drive profits".

2. Courtng equity investors with prospectus filled with profit projections and hopes of becoming a natioinwide chain.

3. Never tested produt for mold, pesticides ot other contaimanents and actually sold product containing mouse poop.

4. Maintain a 200 light grow operation at the old YAR imort building in Potrero Hill - much of the product grown there is resold at wholesale prices to brokers and others not consuming as end product.

5.Managing partenr Dima always wasted on other ilegal drugs - coke, LSD, shrooms - the man is always stoned on something other than weed.

6. Mking promises to patient members of Medithrive - including employees that were never intended to be kept - for example promising employees health insurance, promising that they would allow patients to grow for the collective (kind of riduculous when taken in loight of #4 above).

7. Employees constantly selling/diverting marijuana to non medical purposes.

The people who own and operate Medithrive are interested in nothing but making money. Non profit in name only they continue to try and flaunt the letter and spirit of prop 215 with their new "delivery" service - 30% off specials, free joint with first order - these ar not the actions of a non profit

Posted by Guest on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 10:13 am

Everyone has to make money and these guys are professional businessmen. They sponsor local events and are a resource to the local community. People smoked just as much pot before clubs were around and they pay taxes through the ass and take the risk so why can't they be successful? Kudos to the Principle at Marshall for sticking up for them.Go another block up and you have Kink.com making a mint on the internet in ways that would blow your mind. Come on, get progressive. Focus your anger on real problems.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

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