After news earlier this month that 19 people were hospitalized after eating edible marijuana candies at a quinceañera in the Mission District, we thought we’d ask candidates for District 9 to weigh in on medical cannabis and dispensaries in the neighborhood.

What is your view on medical cannabis dispensaries in the Mission District? What do you think they contribute to the neighborhood?

Respuestas en español aquí.

Iswari España, training officer with the San Francisco Human Services Agency

Having worked in a continuation high school for 12 years, I have seen first-hand how the use and distribution of marijuana has criminalized and destroyed young people’s lives through the criminal justice system. The federal government does not recognize these establishments as legal entities. There is no doubt that there are medical benefits for patients. I am a supporter of providing access to marijuana for medical use. However, there is a high and disproportionate number of dispensaries in the district. There is an assumption that the number of establishments is equivalent to the acceptance and tolerance of all San Franciscans including law enforcement. These notions give youth in our neighborhood a false sense of reality of the consequences of use and access to the drug. The use is penalized and criminalized in other counties at the discretion of law enforcement and the medical cannabis card does not give automatic legal rights to its holders. These dispensaries are not set up to be business enterprises therefore, it is not necessary to have one in every block.

Hillary Ronen, chief of staff for Supervisor David Campos

California voters will have the chance this year to pass smart, new, marijuana regulations that will bring us up to date with the successful laws passed by Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska.

I support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, not only because it raises billions of dollars of revenue for our state and city, but because it has the strictest child protection laws in the nation. The use of adult recreational marijuana will be highly regulated, restricted to 21 years and above, and only used indoors in specific licensed businesses.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors needs to hit the ground running to update our planning code to address this new type of business and make sure that communities and neighbors have strong voices in when and where marijuana is sold.

The recent incident at the Women’s Building must have been frightening for the families involved and I hope everyone is feeling better. Clear and better regulation of labels is needed.

Melissa San Miguel, education advocate

One of the most important responsibilities of an elected official is to ensure that her constituents and her city are safe. The recent issues at local dispensaries must be investigated so we can assess what actions need to be taken to keep people safe. That said, I am pleased that dispensaries exist and provide access to alternative healing treatments for those in the community, but regulation is definitely necessary. I commend some dispensaries for being proactive in their outreach to the community to ensure they are responding to the surrounding areas’ needs and concerns. It’s clear that there needs to be some level of standardization in the product and clarity about its contents to protect both the consumer and the vendor. Otherwise, people may buy a product that does not have the intended effect of helping them cope with their medical ailment.

Joshua Arce, community liaison for Laborers Local 261

The incident last week at the Women’s Building involving marijuana edibles was tragic, and my heart goes out to the families who were affected.

However, I am a strong supporter of medical cannabis, and in the vast majority of cases it is safe for adult use. Studies confirm that cannabis provides much needed relief to patients who suffer from a variety of different ailments.

Cannabis dispensaries provide a level of quality control and can counsel patients on the appropriate method, strain, and dosage best for that patient. It is important for patients in the Mission to have access to the medicine they need near where they live.

I support efforts to legalize cannabis to expand access and reduce the unnecessary incarcerations stemming from the use and sale of marijuana that disproportionately affect black and brown communities.

43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.

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Joe Rivano BarrosSenior Editor

Senior Editor. Joe was born in Sweden and spent his early childhood in Chile, before moving to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating, before spending time as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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  1. All those hospitalized were under 18 years of age. They might have been seriously harmed if they’d been swilling tequila that night. This is a good argument for strong cannabis regulation, with its age restriction.

    Effective regulation won’t come about without legalization, to wit, it’s now easier for a kid to buy weed than booze.

  2. Ms. Ronen continues to be the most articulate and well-reasoned of the bunch. I just need to get over her close connection with Campos. Hoping she’ll be more reasonable in office than he has been.