(UR) San Francisco — How’s this for a sign of the times? The last gun store in trendy Bernal Heights, San Francisco, is transforming into a medical marijuana dispensary that will be free to the poor. After selling guns for 63 years, the gun shop closed its doors last October due to new regulations that would have required the videotaping of gun and ammunition sales. The landlord says he welcomes the new pot shop and looks forward to the dispensary, High Bridge, starting business soon.
The owner, Sean Killen, says the irony is not lost on him. He decided to call his new joint High Bridge, a blend of the old firearm emporium’s personality married with the trend of naming a pot shop with marijuana-themed puns. The previous shop was named “High Bridge Arms,” and opened in 1952, and became a national symbol in the gun control regulations battle, as San Francisco championed the Second Amendment in several national court cases. Eventually, government mandates started to edge gun shops out of business, but High Bridge Arms’ owners likely never imagined their shop’s eventual fate.
Killen says lots of stray bullets were found during the dispensary’s renovation. They plan to open for business later this summer.
High Bridge will be able to dispense medical marijuana as soon as the city’s planning commission approves Killen’s plan to turn the old gun shop into a pot shop, instead. His medical cannabis dispensary application has been accepted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Killen will pay $60,000 a year to give cannabis to low and no-income patients who have a valid medical marijuana card. He hopes to now raise community support prior to a planning hearing later this month.
High Bridge is losing its current home to another dispensary that is much ‘fancier,’ but Killen is committed to providing cannabis compassionately — at prices that even the poorest person can afford. His medical marijuana will be offered on a sliding scale so that those who can’t afford cannabis otherwise still have access to it. According to 7×7.com, Killen also “intends to push the city to mandate free cannabis for low-income residents, just as Berkeley did the fall of 2014.”
Opening a shop for America’s allegedly ‘highly dangerous’ plant is laughable in light of what it is replacing — guns don’t kill people, people kill people, so the saying goes — but cannabis heals people. Killen’s non-profit project is a breath of fresh air for those suffering from everything from cancer to depression. Let’s hope more dispensaries like it litter the landscape in every city of America — instead of bullets.
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