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Pot company tries to oust Oakland cannery residents from garage

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Tenants respond with “human shield” effort

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Earlier this year, Oakland City Council passed new ordinances preventing cannabis companies from evicting tenants in the city’s “Green Zone”—a long, irregular district stretching across almost the entire southern side of the city that regulates pot dispensary zoning.

When Oakland originally created its Green Zone rules, the city failed to consider the possibility of displacement at 25 live/work spaces in the area.

Tenants at 5733 San Leandro Street, aka the Cannery, lobbied earlier this year for rescue from pending eviction via their new landlords, Colorado-based cannabis investment firm Green Sage.

So the City Council amended the zoning law to prevent live/work ousters in March. Everything remained calm until one July morning when Cannery residents awoke to find an eviction notice of an entirely different sort, this one attempting to bar them from their garage.

A tenant furnished Curbed SF with a photo of the notice taped to residents’ doors dated July 10, informing them:

“Parking space shall be relocated from garage space to the general parking area. [...] Use of a storage unit is removed from terms of tenancy and all property currently stored must be vacated.”

Most of 5733 San Leandro’s 20 residents are artists, who have long used the garage space to store projects and accoutrements in addition to vehicular parking.

Tenants responded with a six-page missive of their own alleging that their landlord “failed to provide the notice requirements set forth by the Oakland Municipal Code” for the rules change.

“You do not have good cause to evict, and therefore may not evict Cannery residents from the garage,” reads part of the tenants’ letter.

Cannery residents at the barricade on Wednesday.
Alistair Monroe

According to a press release issued by Cannery resident Alistair Monroe, neighbors decided to stage an “occupation” of the garage area on August 15 (the date that Green Sage threatened to begin clearing everything out) and “[form] a human shield” outside in case their Rocky Mountain landlords decided to clear the way.

In an effort to settle any legal haze around this Cannery row, Greg Minor, an assistant to Oakland’s City Administrator, sent a letter marked August 15 to Green Sage confirming that it does not, in fact, have access to the common areas:

This space falls under the work/live and residential uses protections in the City of Oakland’s cannabis permitting ordinances, and therefore no permit or approval can be issued for a cannabis operation in the areas currently consisting of the garage and storage units. Thank you in advance for taking this information into consideration as you evaluate where to conduct cannabis operations in the Cannery.

Nobody at Green Sage has yet returned requests for comment. As of Thursday morning the garage remains undisturbed.