The residents of Visitacion Valley are tired of being overlooked.
Once dubbed “Forgotten Valley,” the community in southeast San Francisco is home to many working-class, Asian immigrant families. Among them is Marlene Tran, a retired S.F. public school teacher who has long used her background in education and translation skills — she speaks English, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Madarin — to advocate for her community.
Tran is one of many residents of the neighborhood fighting against the proposed installation of two medical cannabis dispensaries at 5 Leland St., led by Quentin Platt of Equinox Botanicals, and 2442 Bayshore Blvd, spearheaded Victor Nguyen of Elevated Systems.
“I feel that the process has been very secretive,” says Tran.
While Visitacion Valley largely voted against Proposition 64, Tran says is not an anti-cannabis issue, but rather one about potential traffic congestion (both proposed dispensaries would reside in the narrow entrance to the Valley) and the safety of the community’s children.
“Marijuana has a medical use. I wouldn’t deny it — I’m a teacher — but I feel that everywhere you turn, everything is all about marijuana. I think there is a time and place for everything and things should be more balanced,” she says.
Beyond the issue that the 5 Leland and 2442 Bayshore projects would conflict with Planning Code Section 790.141, which stipulates medical cannabis dispensaries cannot be built within 1,000 feet of “a community facility and/or a recreation center that primarily serves persons under 18 years of age,” Tran also says that since these projects were first announced, Elevated Systems has proceeded with a…
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