SF's first Latina dispensary owner on entrepreneurship and cannabis decriminalization – El Tecolote – El Tecolote

Editor’s Note: Unless otherwise noted, opinions expressed in this story are those of the interviewee and not of the El Tecolote staff or publication. 

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” began Cindy De La Vega, San Francisco’s first Latina dispensary owner. When De La Vega applied for a cannabis business permit with the city’s Cannabis Equity Program in 2017, she was greeted with a sea of paperwork and bureaucracy, not to mention “a community that doesn’t want to see someone like me––Latina, that’s a minority––succeed.” 

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With grit, encouragement from friends and neighbors, and mentorship from partner organizations, De La Vega obtained her permit in October 2019 and opened the dispensary on O’Farrell St. in Union Square in October 2020.

Cindy De la Vega

Despite the promotional challenges of debuting during COVID-19,

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