Amoeba Music is a staple record store that originated in Berkeley, California and expanded to locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. As the music industry turned digital, it’s remained one of the few brick and mortar locations in the country that still holds some cultural significance as a community hub. Still, there’s really no competing with the almighty force of iTunes — and now Apple Music — and Amoeba is struggling to stay afloat as well by incorporating a new product into their inventory: marijuana.
As The East Bay Express reports, Amoeba’s San Francisco location has been operating a medical pot clinic for about a year, and now their flagship location in Berkeley is seeking to open their own dispensary. Amoeba co-owner David Prinz thinks that music needs saving, and the way to save it is weed. A sampling of his direct quotes: “Weed can help save music — absolutely. Here’s a way,” and later, “College kids don’t buy as much music as they used to.” But they do buy as much weed as kids did back in the good old days, apparently. Maybe more.
The medical cannabis office that opened in their San Francisco location is called Green Evaluations, and matches up perfectly with what Prinz calls Amoeba’s “counterculture” vibe. The dispensary is an ideal collaboration in a lot of ways; the record store needed the supplemental income, and an ancient city zoning law states that doctor’s offices can only be on the second floor of buildings. Amoeba had the space and a great location right on Haight street.
The Berkeley location’s application for the city permit will be weighed against five other groups, and the city council will pass down a decision on the matter after a round of public hearings. If approved, the dispensary would replace what is currently the store’s jazz room.
Some final thoughts from Prinz on the matter: “That street could really frickin’ use this. The whole neighborhood would like the street to be more civilized.” And a hint at his potential connections: “Amoeba has some really good friends who really grow some beautiful strains.” Let’s hope the city council weighs all these relevant factors when they make their decision.