Kevin Reed, founder of The Green Cross, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most respected medical cannabis dispensaries, doesn’t take the existence of his business lightly. He worked for almost a decade and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish a storefront and successful business model for the dispensary, which prides itself on an unmatched delivery service that will deliver just about anywhere a patient wants.

Located at 4218 Mission Street in San Francisco, the store itself throbs of cleanliness and professionalism. The dark green exterior is tasteful, as is its minimalist frosted signage. The interlocking brick sidewalk is swept clean regularly, and extra security provides patients with safe passage.

Inside, though not a large space, the custom lighting and décor provide a classy boutique atmosphere. That attention to detail is mirrored by the customer service. The Green Cross has positioned itself as one of San Francisco’s top medical cannabis dispensaries because of its professional staff and customer service, variety and quality of its products, its commitment to the community it serves, and because Kevin would have it no other way.

Following the passage of Proposition 215, Kevin moved from Alabama to San Francisco in 1999 after a car accident left him with chronic hip and back pain. Like many sufferers of chronic pain, only medical marijuana provided relief, and Kevin went to work to help others who shared a similar need by opening a dispensary.

”When my physician recommended that I acquire and use cannabis for my particular condition, Prop 215 was only a few years old and only a few collectives were bold enough to open a storefront operation,” says Kevin. “But I was disappointed by those early experiences, lack of knowledge and inconsistent results from edibles, and had a desperate need for some southern hospitality. Putting patients first is the heart and soul of our dispensary model, and the reason we exist.”

Originally, TGC operated from a storefront in Noe Valley, operating with a ‘patients first’ mantra and in 2006, changed the game by offering a delivery service. Forced to close its storefront, TGC went delivery only before opening its Mission St. location in 2013 after six years of searching for a suitable site.

Kevin says the storefront has been the cornerstone of TGC’s success. “The importance of the storefront cannot be quantified,” says Kevin. “Without the store, the delivery service would have started to operate at a loss, which would have impacted our ability to serve The Green Cross membership. Arguably, in Noe Valley we were too successful and eventually regulations forced us to move. The delivery service was a survival option but the goal to reopen the storefront location never changed. The storefront is, in many ways, vindication for our members and staff.”

This means that residents in San Francisco’s south end don’t have to make the trip downtown anymore to find the best medicinal cannabis now that some of the best product in the business is close by. And being a positive part of the neighborhood goes a long way in establishing legitimacy. “I hope others see The Green Cross as a model neighborhood dispensary,” says Kevin. “We understand that being a good neighbor is vital to existence in San Francisco and requires strict compliance with the rules, professional and friendly staff, and a commitment to investing in the community where we live and work.”

The Green Cross focuses on products like dry-sieved keefs and cold water-sieved hashes, but also feature a large edibles menu as well as a mix of sativa and indica products. Of course, patients are allowed to draw in big whiffs of bud jars to determine a preference.

With medicinal marijuana gaining acceptance in California and across the United States, the future is less hazy for dispensaries like The Green Cross who turn buying medicinal cannabis into a classy, safe and effective industry. However, says Kevin, what happens down the road for medical marijuana is anybody’s guess. “The answer to that question is written in the stars,” he says. “The Green Cross has always endeavored to build our brand based on professional service and quality products and that is all I can promise right now. A lot can happen in 10 years, political winds can shift and we take nothing for granted.”