Cannabis is medicine but it’s also business. Medical marijuana involves money, and inevitably, money finds its way to power. So the fact that the movers and shakers in San Francisco’s medical cannabis community would get together and host a campaign fundraiser for District 6 supervisor hopeful Debra Walker — a fete in a French bistro in South Park (The Butler and the Chef; holy shit: you gotta go, dude) also attended by Walker-backer DCCC chairman Aaron Peskin, D8 supe David Campos, Planning Commissioner Christina Olague and Police Commissioner Jim Hammer — isn’t itself news.
What is news is that it took until Thursday evening for organized pot to meet organized politics head-on. Cannabis interests have played roles in elections before: a share of the credit for Chris Daly’s 2006 reelection, for example, is claimed by both Axis of Love, a medical cannabis patients’ rights organization, and one of the dispensary owners present Thursday. But never have dispensaries and cultivators shown such an organized political front as they did last night, when representatives from five of San Francisco’s most reputable dispensaries — Medithrive, BASA Collective, Green Cross, Vapor Room and event host SPARC; stand-up citizens all, “truly incredible individuals, with entrepreneurial spirit who are very smart and know what they’re doing,” in Campos’s words — came together to support Walker, who “understands cannabis” thanks to her public service as a Building Inspection Commissioner, Campos said.
“One of the issues [San Francisco] has been right on is medical cannabis,” said Walker, who supports licensing medical cannabis cultivation sites, in areas of the city where nurseries – look it up, it’s in the Planning code – are legal.
“I know the positive effects your industry has had on people who need help, and we owe you a big thank you for that.”
S.F. is relatively pot-friendly now – despite disagreements over Proposition 19, which Peskin’s Democratic County Central Committee endorsed, but which some in the room Thursday oppose – but that could change in a minute, Peskin warned.
“For the last 10 years, the Board of Supervisors, with a majority or super majority, has been right on this issue,” he said. “All of that can be washed away if this country moves to the right, and that’s precisely what we’re up against with the Tea Party” and with the Board elections, where progressives must overcome an “ocean of money” from the usual corporate and downtown suspects.
Cannabis political activism will not stop at organized fundraisers, either: dispensary owners will fund political ads in newspapers and perhaps even slate mailers – akin to the ones from the Chamber of Commerce or the Democratic County Central Community under which voters are buried this time of year – during this election cycle, a dispensary owner told the Appeal at the off-the-record event.