By Connor Fitzpatrick
After years of neighborhood opposition – not to mention new laws decriminalizing marijuana – the Sunset District now has a cannabis club.
Barbary Coast Sunset, the first Black-owned cannabis club in San Francisco, opened its doors in October of last year at 2161 Irving St., between 22nd and 23rd avenues. Barbary Coast Sunset is affiliated with Barbary Coast Dispensary on 952 Mission St.
Owner Jesse Henry addressed being the first cannabis club to open in the Sunset.
“We’re all born and raised San Franciscans so we understand the City and seeing there wasn’t any access to cannabis out on the west side of San Francisco … so really it was an access thing,” Henry said. “We have a lot of patients and customers who would come all the way downtown who lived out here in the Sunset. We felt there was a need for all the people who live on this side of the City to have something that’s a little bit closer. If we could bring the same model and same philosophy of ‘good, clean, safe, comfortable’ that it would be a great experience and work out really well.”
Henry acknowledged that there was a negative reaction to being the first cannabis club to open in the Sunset.
“We got a little bit of push back,” he said. “I think it just came down to not understanding what the benefits of cannabis are and what the benefits of a cannabis club in the community can bring. It’s really just education and getting out and doing the outreach to explain to people all of the positive things that we can bring.”
Henry said that Barbary Coast held 18 community open houses at the store before they opened to address any questions the community had. Henry and his partners also plan for Barbary Coast Sunset to become an active member of the community.
“We’re members of the Outer Sunset Merchants Association,” he said. “It’s great to partner and interact with local businesses. We’re also donating to the Sunset Youth Group. We’ve been able to give them a monthly donation. We’ve done some (collaborations) with some local businesses. We did one with Adapt and Snowbird Coffee.”
Henry also mentioned that Barbary Coast Sunset has plans to organize a beach cleanup. He said a clean environment is important to him and his partners.
“We’ve power-washed the sidewalk throughout the whole block and around the corners three times now since we’ve been open,” he said.
When buying products, customers consult with a “budtender” at a counter. Customers can choose from multiple cannabis goods, such as edibles, flowers, extracts, topicals and more.
“It’s not just straight cannabis; it’s not just things that are going to get you high,” budtender Marquise Lewis explained. “It’s also inter-medicinal purposes that would be helpful for everybody. People who are anxiety ridden, stress ridden, lack an appetite, or those who are going through more serious issues like chemotherapy.”
Lewis, a graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, said he enjoys interacting with customers.
“In my history in this industry I’ve seen lawyers, doctors, teachers and artists,” he said. “It’s a whole spectrum of people who come and enjoy this industry. We get a lot of older people who are coming in to just ask questions. We don’t really push to sell anything. We want to open consultations with people.
“I love meeting people who don’t have an experience with cannabis and relaying my information that I’ve experienced over the years, but also getting to know them on a personal level and seeing what aspect of this industry might be good for them to start out with,” Lewis said.
Henry summed up his motivation: “It’s not our philosophy to compete against any other specific club. Here, we just want to provide a safe, clean and comfortable place of business that provides the best experience that customers can have.”
Barbary Coast Sunset is located at 2161 Irving St. For information, visit www.barbarycoastsunset.com.
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