Three people standing in a large room.
Kenny Powers, co-owner Ana Mendoza and co-owner Bianca Gutierrez at 724 Valencia. Photo by Yujie Zhou, June 8, 2023.

Although the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to put a halt to applications for new cannabis retail permits, no one at Thursday evening’s community meeting opposed the opening of a new dispensary at 724 Valencia St., between 18th and 19th Streets.

If approved by the Planning Commission, Powerzzzup will welcome its customers this year, becoming the second cannabis dispensary on Valencia Street. The other one is Ketama, located at 14 Valencia St. near Market Street. 

 “I’m excited for this space to happen, and it will bring a lot of energy,” said Allison White, owner of Valencia Street Vintage, two stores away, who said she has known Gutierrez for some time.  White was one of three members of the public who attended the community meeting.

For another audience member, chef Leila Soveron Ovando, a culinary instructor at Mission Language and Vocational School’s cannabis program, the opening of Powerzzzup meant a potential partnership. “My students will have a chance to come work here. We train them in cannabis, so they will either be able to get a job here, or we’ll be able to network,” she said.  

Sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Soveron Ovando’s class has been running for a year and a half, offering free training to those interested in pursuing a career in the cannabis culinary field.

“I think that the reason why there were not a lot of people here is because a lot of people don’t think that’s a big deal to them,” said Bianca Gutierrez, co-owner of the forthcoming dispensary, who has been doing community outreach for two years. Ana Mendoza and Alexander Kardos are the dispensary’s co-owners.

The location on Valencia Street was once occupied by Thread Lounge, a clothing and home-furnishings shop that closed for good in 2019. The block also includes Dandelion Chocolate, the Mission Pet Hospital and Yellow Moto Pizzeria. 

The legislation putting a moratorium on new openings until 2027, which is awaiting a second vote by the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s signature, does not affect applications already in the pipeline. 

“I’m happy that we made our process,” said Gutierrez. Powerzzzup’s cannabis business permit application is under review by the city and awaiting a hearing in front of the San Francisco Planning Commission.

Gutierrez, a mother of two, is the owner of the marketing firm B Starr Agency, which specializes in cannabis events and brand strategy. She worked at the Barbary Coast dispensary and has also emceed Carnaval for the past six years. 

Most of cannabis dispensaries in the Mission are lined up along Mission Street: The MediThrive Cannabis near 15th Street, Union Station close to 17th, and the Mission Cannabis Club between 20th and 21st streets.

According to a “Good Neighbor Policy” handout distributed at the community meeting, the new cannabis project prohibits loitering and on-site consumption of cannabis. Staff will notify any customer who lingers. “No loitering” and “No smoking” signs will also be posted. 

“No one would be smoking outside,” Gutierrez said at the meeting. “We will definitely make sure that it is safe for everybody on this block, because this is really important.”

According to the same handout, the store will be equipped with 24-hour surveillance and alarm systems. Two uniformed security guards will be on site during business hours, with one of them patrolling the entire block and enforcing store rules within a 50-foot radius. 

Earlier this year, a series of robberies targeted cannabis retailers took place in San Francisco, including one that led to the temporary closure of Poncho Brotherz. Nine armed people from three vehicles robbed the store at Bryant and Cesar Chavez streets in late March, bringing at least $200,000 in direct losses.

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REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ.

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1 Comment

  1. Guy’s name is Kenny Fucking Powers. That’s awesome.

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