california local news

New legislation in SF aimed at helping to stop open air drug sales and use

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In San Francisco, there is a new plan in the works aimed at fighting open-air drug use in the Tenderloin District.

Supervisor Dean Preston introduced legislation that could keep more smoke shops from opening in the neighborhood. The goal of the legislation is to curb the ongoing drug crisis.

Preston said residents are concerned about the many smoke shops that have opened, and that he has partnered with them to come up with this new legislation. 

It will make it more difficult to open smoke shops in the neighborhood.

“These shops also sell tools and items that drug users use to get high, so they frequent them. And you do get crowds outside these shops,” Rene Colorado said. He supports the legislation.  

Colorado lives in the Tenderloin and is the executive director of the Tenderloin Merchants Association.

“You don’t want three in a row, two in a row, to be selling tobacco products,” he said.

The proposed legislation would require any new business where more than ten percent of the store is dedicated to the sale of tobacco or related products, to have a special permit.

SM Gift Shop on Larkin Street sells tobacco-related products. Worker Adam Alfadm said the store just opened two months ago. In limited English, he said restricting the number of smoke shops is not the answer to solving the problem of open drug use and sales. 

He said it’s the government’s problem and should not burden small business owners.  

Residents said tobacco-related products are already expensive and competition may bring down prices. They oppose the proposed legislation, and say that it’s over-reach by the government.  

“I don’t agree with that. For one, why wouldn’t we want more variety,” said Stuard Barrett who lives in the Tenderloin.  

His roommate Mike Gliko said, “We live in a country where entrepreneurs should be able to have a business whenever they want. 

If legislation becomes law, existing businesses would be exempt.

Preston said the next hearing will be with the Land Use Committee on March 18.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU, Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.