As we await possible statewide marijuana legalization in 2016, we're getting news today of two big SF dispensaries expanding their footprints in the city as providers of medical weed. First there's "Apple Store of pot dispensaries," SPARC (SanFrancisco Patient and Resource Center) which will be opening its second retail location in town at 473 Haight Street (in between Kate's Kitchen and Love & Haight Computers), as Hoodline first reported. SPARC's original location, opened in 2011 at 1256 Mission Street, won a design award for its clean new vision for the world of pot clubs, and SPARC founder and president Erich Pearson tells SFist that they will be improving upon this same aesthetic as they expand the brand.
"We're really excited about taking the existing model and aesthetics of the original space and making it a smaller and more efficient operation," Pearson says. "It'll be all the same elements and materials, with some refinements white oak counters, a similar but slightly different facade. It should be a nice addition to the neighborhood."
They are aiming for a Spring 2016 opening for the Haight Street location.
SPARC began as a non-profit cannabis collective in 2001 that provided medical marijuana to local hospice faculties like Maitri, and most recently they moved into the on-demand delivery space via a partnership with Eaze that began in 2014.
In the Lower Haight, as community liaison Joel Freston tells us, SPARC will be "reaching out to neighborhood groups, merchant associations, citizens, and community leaders" for feedback as they get their operation off the ground. And, Freston says, "SPARC places a high premium on operating a safe and secure facility. Our trained safety staff limits access to only qualified patient members and serves as steward of the neighborhood against more minor, but critical issues, like double parking and loitering."
Meanwhile, nearby on Market Street, another popular dispensary, The Apothecarium, is looking to move up the block to a much larger space. As the Bay Area Reporter learns, co-owner Ryan Hudson is looking to move from the existing storefront at the corner of Church and Market to the former Mecca/Shanghai space at 2029 Market. This would mark a significant expansion, from 1,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet, and Hudson says that in addition to not being able to get a new long-term lease at the original space, "due to growing patient demand, we have been actively pursuing a larger space."
The Shanghai restaurant space has sat empty for two years after a string of three failed restaurant concepts rotated through there, via building owner and restaurateur Francis Tsai. The space has not played host to a successful venture since the long-lived Mecca shut its doors in 2009, and has remained dark despite the immediate neighborhood suddenly booming following the opening of Whole Foods, next door.
The Apothecarium has a sign-off from zoning to open a dispensary there, however they will still need approval from Planning.