There's Ron the Cigarette Man, the city's most reliable source for single cigs. There's the pack of elderly women with loaded grocery carts selling goods they got from the food bank.

"Coffee?" one of the women, holding a pouch of grounded beans, asks a pedestrian. "Coffee?"


Bishop smokes a blunt near Market and Mason. When the patrol car showed up on Jones this morning, he migrated a few hundred yards east to Mid-Market's second-most popular weed hotspot, the sidewalk in front of the neighborhood's other check-cashing joint, a Money Mart. Seven or eight other hustlers have congregated here. It's the first week of the month, which means more people cashing checks, their pockets holding more disposable income than usual.

City officials seek to turn Mid-Market into the next business-technology-culture hub. In the meantime, the neighborhood features a booming open-air drug industry.
Josh Edelson
City officials seek to turn Mid-Market into the next business-technology-culture hub. In the meantime, the neighborhood features a booming open-air drug industry.
Many customers don’t wait long to sample their purchase.
Josh Edelson
Many customers don’t wait long to sample their purchase.

This block's vibe is more social and low-key. Three men stand in a circle shooting dice, ragged bills pinned beneath sneakers. Chess boards have been set up, and modest crowds of onlookers peer over the players' shoulders.

Bishop's heard that the SFPD is constructing a new substation on Sixth Street less than a block south of Market, which could increase their presence in the weed district. He's not worried.

"People are gonna adapt," he says. "Somehow, someway, well find a way around it."

Bishop's gotten good at this. He says things like, "The key to competing out here is developing a solid customer base that keeps coming back," and "When I first got out here I was scared because I didn't know all my constitutional rights." He says he can spot an undercover officer by his "misinformed" slang, his artificial attire, his unusual enthusiasm for the imminent deal. Only once has Bishop gotten busted, when he sold to a police decoy dressed as a culinary school student, before he learned how to spot undercovers. Bishop took a yearlong "Back on Track" class to get the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. He didn't want to keep dealing that year, but had trouble finding a job.

He doesn't consider himself a career drug dealer. Over the years, he's washed dishes for a retirement home and held various customer service posts. He didn't sell weed when he worked those jobs. But now he's unemployed. He says he's sent out more than 25 applications in the past month. He's attending barber college, too. His weed profits go to tuition and feeding and clothing his 8-year-old daughter.

"I wouldn't even call this a plan," he says. "This is something I can resort to when I have nothing else in life."


The streetlights are on now. It's past midnight at Jones and Market. Wide corrugated-steel doors, tagged with illegible graffiti, shield the closed shops like eyelids. A dozen or so people chill out, leaning against walls, cars, garbage cans, and signposts. A few girls are here.

A man in a gray hoodie leans against a car, talking with two friends. "We do business just like they do business," he says, waving an arm at the lit-up windows that pepper the high-rises around him, a handful of cherry-sized weed baggies in his left fist.

The people here are relaxed, laughing and flirting. But the group quiets down when a tall, bearded man in a Giants hat and Chuck Taylors walks up. "I got it," says the guy in the gray hoodie. He steps toward the visitor.

"Need some weed?"

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4 comments
Guerro
Guerro like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is why blacks and raza are arrested disproportionately for drug crimes.  They sell in the street for fuck's sake.  Tontos!

hplovecraft
hplovecraft topcommenter

    ..And , according to the story , 'not' necessarily out

of 'economic desperation' , either...but that be profilin'...

jonpidock
jonpidock

When you have dope addicts and crack heads openly selling and using hard drugs on the block of Turk and Jones, which is a block away from the police substation, why you chose to write a story and give the front page to a bunch of nickle baggers selling weed is beyond me. Dont encourage them by letting them think what they are doing is actually news worthy.

hplovecraft
hplovecraft topcommenter

"Crapshootin' , "Back on Track".. District supervisor and mayor unresponsive..allowing

the trade to happen [ as a way to thumb their noses at the Federal level of gov't.]. What a

terrible mess this once beautiful city's become...and the parties responsible will get

re-elected or reappointed.. City voters elect them so they can champion the causes for

dope dealers 'from outside' the city and county of S.F..

 
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