The dispensaries of yore, you've seen them: neon green signs, bars on the windows, intimidating bouncers. We say goodbye to all that as the new era of sophisticated pot shops brings more familiar amenities—concierges, chandeliers, digital menus, even a VIP lounge. And, of course, on-demand delivery. Here are our favorite (read: clean, stylish, safe) places in the Bay Area to buy grade-A flowers (all lab-tested with no yucky stuff), artisanal edibles, and more.
Don't see your fave? Email us with your suggestions!
The Ganja Gallery: The Apothecarium
In an age when the humble dispensary of yore is joining the world of polished retail, The Apothecarium's new space, opened in October 2016, is proof positive that the multimillion-dollar medical pot shop intends to be a tastemaker among the crowd. Having outgrown its five-year-old location a couple blocks up, the dispensary has doubled its size to about 5,000 square feet. The new address has ample room for a plush and stylish waiting area, a new merchandise island, and even an art gallery, and the whole space gleams from slick details including white marble-tiled countertops and luminescent chandeliers. —David Downs // 2029 Market St. (Upper Market), apothecariumsf.com
At Medithrive, cannabis flowers are displayed beneath museum-style glass domes and may be viewed up-close beneath a microscope.(Courtesy of Medithrive)
The Apple Store of Dispensaries: Medithrive
Phenomenal fluffy green buds seem to hover in space beneath stylish glass domes inside Medithrive, the heart-of-the-Mission dispensary—fresh off a half-million-dollar renovation—that brings the Apple retail experience to the world of cannabis. In this modern pot shop, customers can scope out their potential purchases beneath microscopes to examine trichome density and freshness, and view the buds on 4K resolution flat screen TVs. And with an all-top shelf offering—whether you're after the indica Star Trek Super Kush (Romulan X OG Kush) or sativa hybrids like Banana Strawberry (Banana Kush X Strawberry Cough)—this is truly the place to geek out. Wired sales clerks roam the floor, ready to ring you up. —D.D. // 1933 Mission St. (Mission), medithrive.com
The Etsy of Cannabis: Sava
Think of Sava, an airy online marketplace founded by San Francisco resident Andrea Brooks, as a hyper-curated Etsy for delightful and effective cannabis edibles, topicals, and tinctures, all high-end and hand-crafted here in the Bay Area. Sign up and shop Om Edibles' award-winning truffles, Hepburns' ladylike glass-tipped pre-rolls, aromatic bath salts, and even high-CBD tinctures for pets. As big business hype mounts, savvy shoppers are getting Sava. — D.D. // getsava.com
Harvest specializes in artisanal cannabis edibles and products, all neatly displayed in a setting evocative of your favorite boutique.(Courtesy of Harvest)
The Gentlewoman's Pot Club: Harvest
While some cry about the gentrification of cannabis, we say, “hey man, Sea Cliff residents need a place they can comfortably buy cannabis, too." Harvest, newly opened on Geary Boulevard near Park Presidio, is a landmark both as the city's northwesternmost cannabis club and as a harbinger of cannabis' normalization. In fact, to call it a dispensary doesn't seem quite right—this warm, stylish interior feels every bit the high-end boutique, with shelves laden with artisanal edibles, interesting sodas, pet tinctures and accessories, and Flow Kana's sungrown flowers. Need a classy gift? Check out the $400 cannabis humidor. —D.D. // 4811 Geary Blvd. (Inner Richmond), harvestshop.com
Chicest Vape Lounge: San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC)
We pay an insane amount in rent each month for a reason: access to amazing jobs, the world's best food, breathtaking neighborhoods, and places like SPARC—one of the few dispensaries to count an AIA Award for interior architecture among its many bona fides. It truly is one of the finer things in life to grab a Lyft down to the San Francisco Patient Resource Center, pick out some world-class flower from the high-tech digital menu, and then vape out of an $800 Storz & Bickel Volcano vaporizer. SPARC's world-class lounge, clad in concrete and reclaimed wood, is safe, relaxed and professional. Plus, vaping saves lungs from harsh smoke and the smell of pipes or joints. Afterward, take a five-block walk to the Metreon and see whatever's playing in IMAX. Eat your heart out, suburbia. —D.D. // 1256 Mission St. (SoMa), sparcsf.org
The Nature Lover's Flower: Flow Kana
This lovely, high-minded Bay Area delivery service and wholesale brand offers rare boutique strains of small-batch cannabis, organically grown outdoors by independent farmers in the Emerald Triangle. Flow Kana provides us with healthy magical buds—delivering each order in SF and the East Bay within 20 to 30 minutes. But it's the brand's philosophy that has our hearts—Flow Kana, which recently expanded its business to Los Angeles, is taking the lead in spreading awareness about the importance of sustainable practices in cannabis farming. —Chloé Hennen // Flow Kana flowers are available in select Bay Area dispensaries (including SF's Harvest and Berkeley's CBCB) and via delivery at flowkana.com.
Quality Weed on Wheels: C.R.A.F.T.
While delivery can often mean trading quality for convenience, C.R.A.F.T., the award-winning Berkeley-based collective, delivers indoor-grown flower that is Clean Green–certified—i.e. free of pesticides—lab-screened for pathogens, and quantified for THC and CBD. The collective is run by master growers who've been in the business since the dawn of legal medical cannabis, so you'd be hard-pressed to find better flower in any dispensary—their Super Lemon Haze, Chem Scout, Durban, and CBD OG are among our favorites. C.R.A.F.T. delivers regularly in the East Bay, with weekly drops in SF. —D.D. // bayareacraft.org
(Courtesy of Prema Flora)
The Collector's Box Set: Prema Flora
A recent newcomer to the field, Prema Flora is another farm-to-table cannabis brand specializing in sustainably grown flowers from boutique farms in Northern California. San Francisco and East Bay connoisseurs can shop Prema Flora's online "farm stand" by specific strains or by mood ("relaxed and chill," "energized and focused"), but what sets this brand apart is its more curated collections—sample goods from exclusively women-run farms, or taste from a specific Emerald Triangle appellation. Collections start at $34 for a three-gram sampler; avid smokers can go all in with a nine-gram mixed box for $99. —C.H. // Prema Flora is available for free delivery in SF, Oakland, and Berkeley, premaflora.com
The Reality TV Star: Harborside Health Center
When Steve DeAngelo opened Harborside in 2008, he aimed to create a dispensary that would bring cannabis "out of the darkness and into the light." After nearly a decade, with numerous accolades and a TV series under his belt (you can watch Weed Wars on Netflix), Harborside has earned its mainstream credibility. Patients, politicians, and cannabis professionals have all made the journey to Oakland's Embarcadero to see the dispensary whose model of fantastic medicine and customer service is now being imitated across the country. A must-visit for budding cannabis historians. — J.D. //1840 Embarcadero (Oakland), harborsidehealthcenter.com
(Courtesy of Eaze via eastbayexpress.com)
Speediest City Delivery: Eaze
Silicon Valley techies are bringing their Fortune 100 know-how to bear on a real cannabis-world problem—namely, the need for weed without leaving your couch. Eaze promises to drop an eighth at your door in 15 minutes with just the push of a button on your iPhone. It's a bold claim, but founder Keith McCarty—a die-hard quant and founding member of Yammer—says 15-minute delivery is just a math problem that gets easier as the customer base grows. As with Chinese food, delivery cannabis may not have the same quality as what you'll find with an in-store experience, but the compromise can be worth it when you're deep into a Netflix (and chilling) marathon or a long overdue staycation. —D.D. // Eaze is available Bay Area-wide, eazeup.com
The Online Candy Store: Meadow
There's an old cliche in politics: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." While other marijuana delivery providers typically offer a limited selection for rapid response times, Meadow allows patients to venture further afield and try a much greater selection of flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, and concentrates aggregated from multiple Bay Area dispensaries. It's sort of like Caviar's food delivery service, and it rocks. A 2015 graduate from startup incubator Y Combinator, Meadow most recently raised $2 million in seed funding from the CEO of Reddit. Boom times ahead. // getmeadow.com
(Courtesy of Bloom Room via Yelp)
Sweet Grab-n-Go: Bloom Room
Tucked away in Mint Plaza next to Blue Bottle Coffee lies SoMa's best quick-stop for pot. Bloom Room is a highly stylized and efficient little hole in the wall that's great for swooping in, stocking up on four-gram eighths (a standard eighth-ounce is 3.55 grams), and getting on with your busy day. Bloom Room gets extra points for organizing post-420 clean-up efforts at Dolores Park. —D.D. // 471 Jessie St. (SoMa), bloomroomsf.com
A True Original: Berkeley Patients Group
While all the newfangled pot shops may boast such modern features as VIP lounges and microscopes for getting truly intimate with your indica, there's something to be said for the longevity of the oldest dispensary in the U.S. Despite having faced relentless opposition from the DOF over many years, the folks at Berkeley Patients Group (known as BPG) have pushed on, sticking to their compassion-based model of medical marijuana. They also stock some of the finest weed in California, with multiple Cannabis Cup titles to their credit. —J.D. // 2366 San Pablo Ave. (Berkeley), mybpg.com
The Berkeley Mainstay: CBCB
Also among Berkeley's old guard cannabis clubs, CBCB was the model for the community co-op for many years—after operating for a decade in the back of the famed Long Haul anarchist bookstore, CBCB moved just two blocks in 2009 to its current South Berkeley location. With experience comes wisdom as they say, and CBCB has it in spades: Ask for Jay, who may be the longest tenured budtender in the country. —J.D. // 3033 Shattuck Ave. (Berkeley), cbcbberkeley.com
(Courtesy of The Green Cross)
Best South Side Dispensary: The Green Cross
We love the Green Cross (on Mission, just past the I-280 overpass) for its easy parking, service with a smile, and consistent fire flower at unbeatable prices. Owner Kevin Reed was among the first licensed providers of medical marijuana in SF, and has grown his original delivery-only business into a brick and mortar decorated with rare prints and sculptures by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. The Green Cross also grows much of its own flower. —D.D. // 4218 Mission St. (Excelsior), thegreencross.org
Day Trip: Emerald Pharms
If Mendocino County is to cannabis what Napa is to wine, then Emerald Pharms is the Coppola winery of the dispensary world. Well, sort of. One part art gallery, one part green tech wonderland, Hopland's Emerald Pharms, about two hours north of SF, is a destination dispensary on 12 acres of permaculture oasis, complete with solar-powered renewable energy stations for Tesla owners who make the run. A guided tour of the Solar Living Center will reveal such delights as a heart-shaped lily pond, lavender labyrinth, and a yurt used for workshops on renewable energy, eco-design and, of course, cannabis. In addition to the usual dispensary offering, this is the spot to score exclusive heirloom clones and seeds for your home garden. —D.D. // 13771 S.US-101 (Hopland), emeraldpharms.com
Meet our Cannabis Guide Authors:
(From left to right)
Andrea Brooks is the San Francisco–based founder and CEO of Sava, an online marketplace for high-quality, hand-crafted cannabis goods.
David Downs is a San Francisco–based award-winning freelance journalist, best-selling author, and 7x7's Cannabis Insider columnist.
Jimi Devine has been involved in the cannabis industry since 2005. He writes for SFGate's "Smell the Truth," Cannabis Now, and more.
Amanda Reiman, PhD, is a cannabis expert, vegan, Oakland evangelist, and teaches classes on sex and drugs at UC Berkeley.
Flavia Cassani is a cannabis enthusiast, entrepreneur, Flow Kana cofounder, and environmental devotee.
Chloé Hennen is 7x7's editor in chief who got curious about cannabis in the Bay Area and decided to make this guide.
(Illustrations by Julia Barzizza)