Drug war destabilized S.F.’s Filipino community. Can cannabis heal it?Posted by On

Rudy Corpuz says marijuana used to help him mediate conflicts between rival San Francisco gangs in the 1990s, at a time when Black and brown men like him were going to prison for it.

On Jan. 28, Corpuz opened the first Filipino-owned dispensary in the South of Market neighborhood where he grew up. The dispensary, created through the city’s cannabis equity program and residing in the Pilipinas Filipino Heritage District, carries both personal and communal significance for Corpuz, who also runs a mentoring program dedicated to preventing violence.

“Me being a dispensary owner is going to bring equity to my Filipino community that was affected by the War on Drugs,” he said.

STIIIZY SoMa in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023.

STIIIZY SoMa in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023.

Salgu Wissmath/The Chronicle

While research into the drug war’s impacts on San Francisco’s Filipino community is lacking, a San Francisco Office of Cannabis report in 2017 found higher concentrations of cannabis arrests in low-income neighborhoods like the Mission, where Filipinos like Nina Park’s family have lived for generations.

“I have numerous family and friends that have been to jail for cannabis and lost opportunities,” said Parks, who served as the first chair of the city’s Cannabis Oversight Committee and founded cannabis brand Gift of Doja.

When it comes to tracing the drug war’s racist origins, the country’s…

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