Just a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District, the cannabis liberation movement that started in the 1960s continues this month with tested, licensed, equitable cannabis retail for all adults 21 and over.
The Cole Ashbury Group, in partnership with Cookies, officially opens “Berner’s on Haight” – an adult-use licensed cannabis retail store. In this partnership, Cole Ashbury Group will retain full ownership of the cannabis store with Shawn M. Richard serving as CEO of the store and advising Cookies concerning its broader Social Equity strategy. In turn, Cookies and its founder Berner (a.k.a. Gilbert Milam) bring 20 years of cannabis industry expertise and access to much-needed resources to the Haight Street shop. The shop will be the first to open under San Francisco’s Social Equity Program, which aims to address the damage done to communities of color by the “War on Drugs.”
Says Vallie Brown, outgoing District 5 Supervisor of the new endeavor on Upper Haight, “Cannabis legalization isn’t coming to the Haight-Ashbury; no, the laws are finally coming to the Haight-Ashbury’s way of thinking, of valuing healing, freedom of expression, and social equity. It’s exciting and fitting that San Francisco’s first social equity cannabis store will be right here in the Haight, and that it will be led by a man like Shawn Richard who has spent decades in selfless service to our community.”
Both Shawn M. Richard and Cookies’ founder Berner have deep ties to San Francisco and the Haight Street community specifically. Berner grew up above his father’s restaurant on Fillmore St. in San Francisco and went on to become a self-made entrepreneur with a cannabis, clothing, and lifestyle empire.
Shawn M. Richard is a native San Franciscan who grew up within walking distance of the cannabis store. The founder of the violence reduction nonprofit Brothers Against Guns and a co-founder of the San Francisco Equity Group, Shawn M. Richard is also the first Equity Partner approved by the City and County of San Francisco to open a cannabis store under the San Francisco Cannabis Equity Program.
“This isn’t just a store, it’s a platform,” said Shawn M. Richard. “All eyes will be on us, and I want to show the city and the world the benefits of partnering with people who are truly committed to advancing equity and understand that our communities need more than expungement. Cookies is that partner, and we’re excited to have them standing with us.”
The store is located in the most iconic part of San Francisco at the cross-section of cannabis culture and known as a tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. There is no better place for Berner’s on Haight to put down roots than in the community of Upper Haight.
Haight-Ashbury shoppers will get access to the most in-demand cannabis products in the world in a contemporary, licensed, and secure store. Designed by UK design firm Brinkworth, the soft blue and crisp white retail space at 1685 Haight Street features multiple viewing and purchasing stations for checking out Cookies’ unparalleled cultivars including Georgia Pie, Sunset Sherbert, Cherry Pop, Pancakes, Ocean Beach and Gary Payton. The store will feature the entire lineup of Cookies’ world-class genetics as well as products from the entire family of Cookies brands including Lemonnade, Runtz, Powerzzzup, Minntz, and Grandiflora.