Two More SF Marijuana Dispensaries Fold In Federal Crackdown


Chris Roberts/S.F. Examiner
Catherine and Steve Smith founded HopeNet 14 years ago and have diligently gone by state and city laws

The ranks are thinning. Two more of San Francisco’s most well-known medical marijuana dispensaries closed their doors permanently on Tuesday, both due to the federal government’s crackdown in states which have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis.

HopeNet and the Vapor Room both announced they would shut down due to threatening letters sent to their landlords by the federal government, reports Joe Rosato Jr., of
“The Justice Department sent out landlord one of those nasty letters,” HopeNet cofounder Catherine Smith said. “So this is our D-Day; we have to leave.”
HopeNet was founded 14 years ago by Smith and her husband on Ninth Street in San Francisco’s South of Market. The business has long been regarded as an excellent example of a working, legitimate medical marijuana dispensary which carefully abides by state and city laws. Smith worked alongside city officials, serving on the Medical Marijuana Task Force and helping craft S.F.’s groundbreaking city ordinance on medicinal cannabis.

“Hard to believe we did all these things and accomplished all these things in the Cith and they’re shutting us down,” Smith said.
California’s four U.S. Attorneys have since November sent out more than 600 Justice Department letters statewide threatening landlords who rent space to medical marijuana dispensaries. Nine San Francisco cannabis collectives have gone out of business since receiving the threats.
“They are like a cornerstone to the little community here,” businessman Ray Chico said of HopeNet. “I think they’ve worked very diligently with local authorities and do everything you need to do to run it above board.”
HopeNet will continue to run a cannabis delivery service, but Smith said she didn’t have much hope of finding another storefront location for the dispensary and its on-site smoking lounge.
“The word is out about the Justice Department sending the landlord letters,” Smith said. “The real estate people don’t want to deal with you anymore.”