Born in Iran and raised in Germany, Ali Jamalian initially developed a taste and appreciation for cannabis in Amsterdam. In his youth, he would frequently catch the train from his home near Düsseldorf to Europe’s marijuana mecca.
Years later, while studying at the University of San Francisco, Jamalian connected with a crew of fellow weed wonks. Together, he and his new friends leaned into their shared passion—eventually growing their illicit, extracurricular pursuits into a successful side hustle.
In 1999, Jamalian was arrested for pot possession in the Presidio, which is federal property, and nearly deported. In 2011, after spending more than half a decade back in Germany, he returned to San Francisco and began growing and selling medical cannabis in the Sunset District.
It was around that time that his customers started referring to his operation as “the Sunset Connect.” Jamalian liked the sound of that, and after incorporating some Muni-inspired iconography into his packaging, his brand of high quality, SF-grown bud was born.
Ultimately, Jamalian’s street cred and his run-ins with the law all proved beneficial: He is now a certified equity business owner, and Sunset Connect runs a fully licensed manufacturing and distribution operation in SoMa. And, as chairman of the city’s Cannabis Oversight Committee, he works to smooth relationships between suspicious ex-felons and their new partners in legalization—the very government and law enforcement officials who once sought to put them behind bars.
Photos by Camille Cohen
The ability to “out-smoke Snoop Dogg” without losing his cool.
Corporate cannabis—the Lex Luthors of the drug policy reform world.
Jamalian says he is "fascinated by wine. That’s what I spend most of my money on."
The business acumen of an Iranian bazaari and the operating principles of a German factory.
Reversing the evil impact of America’s half-century-long war on drugs.