Forget the San Francisco you know, the one Bill O’Reilly occasionally visits to demonstrate how bad the far-left is at running “the most liberal place in the country.”
Here be reactionaries, too: San Francisco has an active Ku Klux Klansman and last summer, the Klan thought enough of the city to actively recruit for new members—in the world-famous Haight-Ashbury, birthplace of the Summer of Love and (briefly) the home of Jimi Hendrix.
And just as San Francisco is the historic home of gay liberation, with one of the nation’s first gay elected officials—who was a friend and confidante of one of the very first medical marijuana activists, in turn responsible for making San Francisco the single city most responsible for pushing California and then the rest of the United States towards legal marijuana—San Francisco also has, apparently, adherents of a homophobic hate group, who are (thus far) successfully blocking the opening of a medical cannabis dispensary.
As the Bay Area Reporter documented, members of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), an anti-LGBT group infamous for comparing being gay to cigarette smoking and concocting bogus stories about transgender people, are agitating against a well-known San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary’s efforts to open up a location on the city’s quiet and relatively weed-free west side.
For context’s sake: San Francisco has more than two dozen marijuana stores, but most are concentrated in the city’s urban core on the east side. On the residential west side, there are almost no places to buy cannabis legally, and previous efforts to open up dispensaries have been met with furious neighborhood opposition and behind-the-scenes government maneuvering.
Dr. Floyd Huen, a longtime physician and the husband of former Oakland, Calif. mayor Jean Quan, wants to partner with the Apothecarium, which operates locations in the city’s Castro District and in Las Vegas, to open up a dispensary on the west side. At a recent community meeting held at a local police station, about 100 people, including members of the Pacific Justice Institute, intimidated Huen to the point where he left the meeting, the BAR reported.
Frank Lee, a neighborhood resident who self-identified as a member of the PJI, told the newspaper that the dispensary makes him “concerned about the children,” and recently called a press conference to announce the group’s “serious opposition” to the dispensary and two other proposed marijuana retail outlets in other parts of the city. As justification, Lee repeated the oft-debunked canard that legal marijuana outlets cause crime (when in fact, they reduce crime, including the crime of selling weed illegally).
Brad Dacus, PJI’s founder and president, did not disavow Lee as a sympathizer and adherent, and said that Lee “understands our goals,” according to the newspaper.
The Southern Poverty Law Center classified the Pacific Justice Institute as an active anti-LGBT group in 2015, about two years after the PJI fabricated a story about a transgender student harassing females in a girls’ bathroom. That never happened, but PJI President Dacus’s support for the state’s short-lived gay marriage ban—and his comparison of defeating gay peoples’ ability to get married to defeating Nazi Germany, as well as his group’s defense of a pastor who preached in support of stoning gay people to death? All that absolutely happened.
Opposing a medical marijuana dispensary whose headquarters is in the Castro District, the epicenter of gay rights (for men, anyway) where Dennis Peron, a gay man and one of the leaders of the medical marijuana movement, still lives today, would be well in line with PJI’s goals.
In addition to Bill O’Reilly-baiting freaks, Klansmen, gay people and gay-haters, San Francisco also has a land-use process that gives local neighborhood sentiment enormous sway in determining what gets built where—if at all.
This means fringe opinions—even outright hateful ones like PJI’s and Lee’s—may play a role in determining whether Apothecarium’s outlet happens.
At the same time, the new location may not happen irrespective of PJI.
The west side of San Francisco is also heavily Chinese-American, and Chinese-Americans have been reluctant to embrace medical cannabis as a welcome addition to their neighborhoods—for reasons that have very little to do with the actual doings of a 21st-century marijuana outlet.
So it’s an old story, albeit with a new homophobic twist.
All of which makes Huen, the doctor who just wants to open up a weed club, “very sad,” as he told the paper.