So marijuana's all legal now. Woo hoo! That means every Californian 21 and up can saunter into a recreational shop, belly up to the bud bar, and order whatever their high heart desires.
But with legalization has come a number of changes that have even dyed-in-the-wool stoners scratching their heads. So we're here to walk you through what's new and happening, as well as to give you the skinny on the very best our local cannabis industry has to offer.
First, there's the taxes—40 percent to be exact, planting your sustainable, sun-grown boutique strains and fancy infused bon bons into nice-bottle-of-Champagne terroir. And while you're no longer required to have a medical recommendation, patients using cannabis to treat chronic ailments or as a daily preventative for wellness may still want to seek ye old MMJ card to save some dough on those aforementioned taxes. Patients with the right paperwork may also have access to higher-dosed goods—that's right, new restrictions put caps on edibles at 100 milligrams per package (which, let's be honest, is still a shit ton). Of course, you could just take your driver's license or standard state-issued ID to a "sesh" to grab a tax-free stash. What's a sesh, you ask? We will tell all.
Sadly, the mode of doing business in the newly legal cannabis industry—which has been slapped with more red tape than you could imagine in your worst bureaucratic nightmare—means that, as of press time, several beloved small businesses (including Auntie Dolores, Lord Jones, and Moonman's Mistress, sigh) have yet to receive their recreational licenses; and some have already been forced to shut their doors (RIP, Moxie Meds). But do note that many of these products are still available at your favorite dispensaries; this may change as even further regulations take effect on July 1.
In the same vapor-laced breath, mainstreamification has also propelled some companies—like Harborside, Flow Kana, and Eaze—into serious budding empire territory. Cannabis will continue to move inexorably into the mainstream and, ultimately, the goods will be better for it—especially as mandatory lab testing (for pesticides and myriad other yucky stuff) goes into effect this July.
But none of this changes what we've been happily sharing with you, dear readers, over the past few years, which is that our communal table is set with unbelievably delicious, artisanal edibles and quality infused cooking ingredients; that dispensaries have grown up and expanded into stylish shops and lounge-y hangouts with art galleries and comedy nights; that special events, paired dinners, farm tours, and ganja yoga classes have flooded our calendars; and bud crawls and canna-weddings and tourism have officially become a thing.
To cover all our region has to offer in the way of marijuana marvels would be impossible, so please enjoy our third annual cannabis guide, filled with curated picks for the very best from the Bay Area to the Emerald Triangle.
(PS: Looking to celebrate 4/20 with like-minded cannaseurs? Don't miss our roundup of the day's highest events.)
17 High-End Cannabis Dispensaries & Delivery Services in the Bay Area
The Apothecarium's hyper-posh new flagship on Upper Market.
(Tyler Chartier, courtesy of Apothecarium)
Say goodbye to the dispensaries of yore (neon signs, bars on the windows, intimidating bouncers), and enter the new era of sophisticated pot shops with more familiar amenities—concierges, chandeliers, digital menus, even a VIP lounge. And, of course, on-demand delivery. Here are our favorite places in the Bay Area to buy grade-A flowers, artisanal edibles, and more.
San Francisco: From the chandelier to the art gallery to the carefully selected furniture and exquisite detailing, The Apothecarium's giant flagship location (2029 Market St, Upper Market) is still the standard by which other retail dispensaries are judged—including its satellite locations in the Marina (2414 Lombard St.) and SoMa (527 Howard St.). // One of the very first dispensaries in San Francisco to open for adult-use sales in January, Medithrive (1933 Mission St, Mission) sets its own standards for presentation and cannabis geekery, providing microscopes wired to 4K resolution flat-screen TVs for patrons to view top-shelf flower to the tiniest detail. // Decked out in steampunk details stunning enough to give Burning Man veterans a complex, Urban Pharm (122 10th St., SoMa) also boasts one of the city's very few lounges where open flames are allowed. // SPARC (1256 Mission St, SoMa), the world-class SoMa dispensary and vape lounge that counts an AIA Award for interior architecture among its many bona fides, has a smaller second location (473 Haight St., Lower Haight) with a menu just as expansive. // The model for "neighborhood dispensaries" with its lenient return policy, Dutchman's Flat (2544 3rd St., Dogpatch) is also a design nerd's delight with its exposed brick and high ceilings. They also grow nearly everything they sell, and love diving deep into the knowledge. // Bloom Room (471 Jessie St, SoMa) 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 3.5 grams), and getting on with your busy day. // We like The Green Cross (4218 Mission St, Excelsior) for its easy parking, service with a smile, and consistent flower at unbeatable prices. Owner Kevin Reed was among the first licensed providers of medical marijuana in SF, was one of the very first adult-use dispensaries to open in January, and the dispensary grows much of its own flower in-house to this day—which is a good thing!
East Bay: World-famous for a reason, the nation's busiest dispensary has been, for several years, Harborside (1840 Embarcadero, Oakland), to which much due is owed for helping bring marijuana to the mainstream. They also command fantastic medicine and provide exemplary customer service. // The oldest continuously operating cannabis retail outlet in the United States, Berkeley Patients Group, known as BPG (2366 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley) has some new tricks in the adult-use era, including a vending machine, but is still patient focused: Feedback from BPG helped convince Berkeley lawmakers to cut the local tax in half. // Also among Berkeley's old guard cannabis clubs, CBCB (3033 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley) was the model for the community co-op for many years. With experience comes wisdom, as they say, and CBCB has it: Ask for Jay, who may be the longest tenured budtender in the country.
Like full-fledged cannabis cafes, true cannabis farmers' markets are still things of the future. For now, we must satisfy ourselves with the equivalent of cannabis CSAs such as Healing Light, which work directly with Emerald Triangle farmers (and who work until midnight to deliver the goods to us city folk). // Though Flow Kana has grown up to fill the shoes of wholesaler and budding empire with a Wonka-style weed factory and happy place out in Mendo, the Oakland-headquartered company still offers delivery of its sustainable, sun-grown boutique cannabis strains in SF and the East Bay within 20 to 30 minutes. Bonus: This spring, Flow Kana added Willie's Reserve to its repertoire—that's right, you may smoke the OG Texas toker's stash right here in California. // Think of Sava, an airy online marketplace founded by SF 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 and delivered same or next day. // Regent of the East Bay is still C.R.A.F.T., the award-winning Berkeley-based collective that delivers Clean Green–certified flower—that means you can trust all your buds are free of pesticides, lab-screened for pathogens, and quantified for THC and CBD—seven days a week. The collective is run by master growers who've been in the business since the dawn of medical cannabis, but also offers aggressive specials like $18 eighths. // Even if the women behind Lady Chatterley's Lover didn't exude suavity, their "Ladies' First" philosophy wins us over with a curated menu of lip balms, massage oil, and the full line of Quim Rock products designed for happy vaginas. // The original "smartphone-activated delivery," Eaze is betting on itself to become America's first unicorn cannabis company. Its menu is still the most expansive around, and can meet you wherever you may be: work, home, the park, or in between. // 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.
What's a sesh, you ask? Think of these as meet-ups, or pop-ups, with cannabis for sale. Most are advertised on Instagram or via word-of-mouth, and some like to market themselves as weed speakeasies. Others put more focus on the product rather than the presentation, but their purpose is to provide a quiet marijuana marketplace, away from the taxman and the regulator-person. So no 40 percent taxes and no 100 milligram limit on edibles. Yes, technically these are underground happenings, which lends them an aura of danger and mystery. But mostly they're meet-ups among aficionados. See what it's all about at Cloud Sesh in Oakland.
—Additional reporting by David Downs and Jimi Devine.
Artisanal Marijuana Eats + Drinks Made in the Bay Area
Kikoko offers cannabis-infused teas to suit every mood and occasion.
(Courtesy of @kikoko_hq)
Bay Area residents are already obsessed with food—put some cannabis in there, and we all go bananas.
Unsurprisingly, today's local edibles market is touting all the watchwords of our favorite chefs and restaurants, and there are paleo, gluten-free, and vegan options to boot. But edibles can be tricky, so pay close attention to dosing recommendations on the packaging—for newbies, just 5mg of THC is enough to get a buzz on. When in doubt, remember this motto: Start low, go slow. These things take time.
(*Please note that all prices listed below are pre-40-percent-tax.)
CHOCOLATES + SWEETS
For their artistry, flavor, and subtlety we find ourselves craving Satori Chocolates, which offers high-CBD milk and dark chocolate bars and lower-dose bites blended with strawberries, blueberries, raisins, coffee beans, salted caramel, or (our favorite) almonds ($25-$30, available at dispensaries Bay Area–wide). // A recent boom in sophisticated edibles is bringing confectionery-grade treats to pot shops near you. Out of Sonoma County comes Garden Society, a brand of sweets so elegant they would fit in on the bonne bouche plate at Jardinière. The chef-prepared milk chocolates infused with passion flower ($28, 1:1 THC:CBD) and fruit and herb gelées ($22, THC/THCA; both available at Sava) are made with all organic and locally sourced ingredients as well as with biodynamic cannabis from Anderson Valley's Shine On Farms. // Kiva Confections artisan chocolates includes a range of bars in two different strengths ($22) as well as a growing line of treats in micro doses perfect for your desk drawer, such as the Blueberry Terra Bites ($17, 5mg per serving) and, our favorite, Petra Mints ($15, 2.5mg per serving; all available at Cannvis). // Treat Yourself—a line of cannabis-infused edibles made for women—is satisfying our teenage munchy cravings and our adult lady needs with gluten- and refined sugar–free treats, including cherry almond vegan pop tartlettes ($16, 50mg CBD, 20mg THC per two) and coconut banana mini cakes ($16, 40mg CBD, 15mg THC each). // If you're looking for low-glycemic, paleo-centric, gluten-free, and even vegan treats, Moonman's Mistress offers a delish line of cookies with both THC and high CBD options ($24/box of five 10mg CBD cookies, and $20/box of five 10mg THC cookies; available at Sava).
Get them while you still can: SF-based Auntie Dolores, beloved for delicious cannabis-infused snacks that happen to be both vegan and diabetic-friendly, has yet to procure its recreational license. You can still get a hold of their chili lime peanuts (50mg THC per package, currently on sale for $9) and super food CBD truffles (30mg CBD per package, on sale for $11) at Sava (getsava.com). // Oakland Ayurvedic practitioner Eden Tosch has tapped into her understanding of cannabis and her knowledge of how to boost libido through herbal combinations to create Higherveda Snuggle Bites ($4-$16, 10mg THC per serving)—mostly organic bars made with coconut, raw honey, and cocoa nibs as well as Ayurvedic go-tos such as shankha pushpi and ashwaghanda to increase passion and sensitize the body for max pleasure. // Oakland-based Native Seed makes high-protein cannabis energy bars packed with fiber, omega 3s, hemp protein, and Sour Diesel cold water hash. The Lift Bar ($7-$20, 1:1 THC:CBD) comes in two strengths that are great for those with high tolerance to THC—60mg (2-4 doses) and 180mg (4-8 doses). Or, try the 1:1 Protein Bites, with an even balance of CBD and THC to fuel you and a friend through the day ($22, 60mg CBD, 60mg THC; all available at Sava).
COFFEE + TEA + COCOA
Listen up, high tea lovers: Kikoko is, pinkie's up, our favorite cannabis-infused goodie to hit the market in the past year. Founded by a pair of Marin women with senses of humor well in tact, the brand serves up organic tisanes ($5/sachet, $40-$56/10-pouch can; available at getsava.com) to give your lifestyle a boost, whether you're in need of some Positivi-tea or Sensuali-tea. The THC-intolerant will looove the Sympa-tea—the CBD-rich turmeric-ginger elixir takes the edge right off. Plus, they host fabulous Mad Hatter tea parties at which fanciful chapeaux are a must! // What's a Bay Area office environment without a healthy supply of cold brew coffee? Take it up a notch with Somatik's Medical Cannabis Cold Brew ($14, 15mg THC per 8-ounce bottle; available at dispensaries Bay Area–wide), made with Ritual Coffee! It's a choice option for on-the-job, functional microdosing. Yes, it is possible to be both alert and relaxed—welcome to the world of legal marijuana. // Om Edibles' CBD Raw Sipping Cacao ($36/4oz. jar, 80mg CBD per jar, available at Sava)—raw organic cacao loaded with pure, non-psychoactive, therapeutic CBD—from the SF-based all-girl collective Om Edibles makes the perfect cup of hot cocoa on a foggy SF night. Spike it with a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne and relish the divinely mellow but clear-headed effect.
—Additional reporting by Flavia Cassani, Amanda Reiman, Jimi Devine, and David Downs.
Elevated Cuisine: Cannabis Dinner Parties, Modern Ingredients, Cookbooks + More
A Cannaisseur Series dinner party.
(Courtesy of EatWith)
The sorcery of melding sustenance with cannabis has exited the Dark Ages and now entered the Renaissance.
All the magic tricks of chemistry and presentation top chefs perform with haute cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants is happening with marijuana—which means it's time for you to pull rabbit bolognese, infused with a special ingredient, out of your own Le Creuset.
(*Please note that all prices listed below are pre-40-percent-tax.)
DINNERS + EVENTS
Merely adding a loaded brownie or a few pre-rolls to your life—or worse, your marquee event—just doesn't cut it anymore. Herb Somm explains how to pair cannabis with wine and offers planning advice, as well as meetups with a chef and edibles brands for inspiration—to help you throw your own canna-par-tay. Also look for their Thursday Infused gourmand events. // Just because you can infuse every dish in a four-course meal doesn't mean you should. The brunches, dinners, and other soirees at chef Coreen Carroll's Cannaisseur Series do have low-dose edibles, but they emphasize pairings. Cheeses, wines, and carefully selected cannabis offerings bring out the best qualities in each, without any unnecessary or forced combinations.
As nearly every meal worth eating involves fat, no kitchen is complete without chef-grade olive oil. Pot d'Huile ($43) is a California EVOO infused with masterfully extracted cannabis in precise dosing (100mg THC per 100 mL bottle). It's even earned kudos from Bon Appetit. // To call Numa the truffle salt of cannabis dances close to explaining how this unusual edible works: The Outer Richmond–based manufacturer Innovative Edibles calls its flavored powder an "evanesce," and the product is as unique as the deployment of that fleeting verb. The effect is a tickling of the palate as well as the brain case thanks to a precise matching of cannabis terpenes with exquisite flavonoids, now available in seven delicious choices (sour mango, parmesan/peppercorn/clove, single origin chocolate). The foodie ingredient impressed the haute heads at High Times sufficiently enough to garner a Cannabis Cup award.
RECIPES + COOKBOOKS
Chef Cheri Sicard believes that cooking with cannabis should be an everyday venture. She also grasps that fudging the active ingredient is a recipe for disaster, which is why her Easy Cannabis Cookbook provides both a dosing guide and a 101-level explanation, as well as 60 recipes suitable for weekday nights and lazy brunches. // Infusing Bulletproof coffee and ahi tuna poke bowls with a slight cannabis kick sounds like a good idea—but how, exactly, would you pull that off? Chef/photographer Monica Lo's cooking site Sous Weed removes the guesswork while giving cannabis the treatment of a serious ingredient and us the eye candy of gorgeous photos.
—Additional reporting by David Downs and Sarah Hawthorne
The Sleekest Vapes, Sweetest Bongs + Coolest Toking Accessories
In the modern age of toking, even lighters can be art objets.
(Courtesy of @tetra_shop)
Back in our college days, we reveled in the novelty of over-the-top glass bongs and kitschy hookahs (ok, we still really like those). But now that we're all grown up, we've developed a taste for the finer things.
Fortunately, cannabis paraphernalia has kept up (and no one really calls it that now, anyway), and there are oodles of options for cute pipes, high-tech vapes, chic stashes, and more. Behold, the most elegant add-ons the Bay Area industry has to offer.
(*Please note that all prices listed below are pre-40-percent-tax.)
VAPE PENS + CARTRIDGES
Yes, cannabis and hops are cousins in the plant family. And yes, beer and weed go great together. The world's weed-friendliest beer brand, Lagunitas, has teamed with AbsoluteXtracts to launch Supercritical oil cartridges that blend cannabis hop terpenes in two formulas, one sedative and one more stimulating ($53 at Waterfall Wellness, 1545 Ocean Ave.). // All vape pens are not alike—materials matter. The stainless steel battery on Bloom Farms' new Highlighter Plus feels solid in the hand, and the ceramic heating element is both safer and smoother than run-of-the mill plastic wicks ($74 at Apothecarium SoMa, 527 Howard St.). // For nighttime medicating and a quick lights out, Sublime Canna's's Sleep cartridges combine 20-to-1 CBD to THC cannabis oil with 100 grams of melatonin ($35 at Shambhala MCC, 2441 Mission St.). // Born in Humboldt County and named among Time's 25 Best Inventions of 2016, Dosistosist (formerly known as Hmblt) celebrates the seat of cannabis legacy in its plant science–based formulas that are "chemically engineered to make people feel a certain way—calm, sleepy, relieved of pain—without getting high." The company's recyclable pens also promise precise doses: The OG pen promises 200 hits ($100), while the new 50-dose mini pen ($40), launched this year, is perfect for your pocket (available at dispensaries Bay Area–wide and at getsava.com). // Aya's mystically named Cannabis Nectars (i.e. extracts) for four states of mind: Awaken, Inspire, Relax, Slumber ($66 for vape pen set, $43 refill cartridges; available at Sava). // Once you're done with vape pens, you can graduate to the PAX Era, which is a lighter, slimmer, tastier, and just all-around better way to vape concentrates. The content of the PAX Era pods are often better, too ($30, available at dispensaries Bay Area–wide). Check out their latest collaboration with Thievery Corporation, which launched 4.20.18 in collaboration with Blue River extracts. // Speaking of Blue River, this company is the gold standard in extracts that are rich in terpenes, the compound that gives cannabis strains their distinct aroma and taste. Blue River's Rosin Sauce is a no-additive cannabis plant extract, making for what's possibly the purest flavor (and high) around ($86, available at Green Cross, 4218 Mission St). // All of that said, until state regulations go into full effect in Summer 2018, lab testing of extracts isn't exactly the norm. Be guaranteed a proven clean smoke with Emerald Cup Award winner The Highest Grade, the gold standard for CO2 cartridges ($60/cartridge; available at SPARC).
Rather skip the extracts and load your own fresh flower into one of the chicest vaporizers around? The Pax 3 ($199 device only; $249 complete kit includes a cartridge and extra screens) from Pax Labs is so high-tech, the mouthpiece has an internal accelerometer that knows when you're holding it versus jostling it in your purse. Plus it's the company's first vaporizer to work both for loose leaf herb and extract inserts, and, available in three lustrous metallics. // Firefly 2 ($330) will change your relationship with smoking weed. The new vape heats cannabis only as you inhale, extracting more active ingredients from the flower including flavorful terpenes. The resulting vapor is so smooth and satisfying, you'll find yourself pondering the flavors and aroma the way you would with a glass of wine.
PIPES + BONGS
Stylish Billowby is all online, making your perusal of hand pipes, water bongs, grinders, and papers completely discreet. They curate only the highest quality blown glass pieces and presents them in a decidedly lady-friendly format with clean design, poppy photography, and plenty of education just in case you don't know how to roll a joint. // The Cave (2499 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo) is the regional destination for functional glass art collectors. The gallery's seasonal openings draw heads from across the state who wait overnight to be among the first in line for giveaways from world-famous, celebrity glass blowers who come to sign bongs and chat with adoring fans.
For smokers with an eye for design, enter online boutique Tetra. Here you'll find the most gorgeous and often one-of-kind pipes, lighters, ashtrays, and storage boxes you never even imagined. // Van der Pop made a splash with its chic, childproof handbags for power tokers and ladies who lunch. Their Poppins Stash Bag ($290) and Mini Bag ($79) keep the goods under literal lock-and-key. You can also shop the line's collection of various stylish accoutrements—including credit-card sized graters, rolling papers, stash jars, and —available exclusively, as of April 2018, at ca.tokyosmoke.com.
—Additional reporting by Jimi Devine, David Downs, and Michelle Klug.
Weed for Wellness: Cannabis-Infused Spa Treatments, Yoga, Tinctures + More
Ganja yogi Dee Dussault.
(Courtesy of Dee Dussault)
What could sound more hippie dippie than a cannabis tincture or an infused body balm?
But really, these droppers and jars filled with magical potions are the easiest entrée in the wide world of marijuana—and a perfect option for anyone wishing to ease tension without getting high. There's even a little something for your pup.
(*Please note that all prices listed below are pre-40-percent-tax.)
Spas were built to impart relaxation powers over mind and body, so it was only a matter of time before cannabis was integrated into self care. The shine from your soul will emanate from the tips of your (smooth, perfect) extremities after a CBD-infused Sit and Lit mani-pedi at La Petite Nail Shop (601 Kansas St. Potrero Hill). // For the full-body and deep-tissue treatment, splurge for a non-psychoactive but clinically relaxing CBD hemp oil massage at the Remede spa at the St. Regis ($275 for 60 minutes; 125 Third Street).
For non-psychoactive pain relief, we like the ethos of Lovingly & Legally, founded by a retired SF public school teacher, and we absolutely love their alcohol-based, quick-evaporating and fast-acting CBD Oil and Spray, which also happen to be formulated for pets ($36 at Barbary Coast, 952 Mission St.). // TreatWell is a San Francisco–based maker of cannabis tinctures (available in THC, CBD, and THCA options as well as various strengths) for you and your four-legged friend. We love the high-quality cannabis pet tinctures that come in 1:1 or 20:1 CBD to THC ratios ($30 for .5oz, available at Sava) to ease Fluffy's woes without getting her stoned.
OILS + LOTIONS + BALMS + SALTS
There are those who believe that cannabis can cure all, and there is no shortage of potions that promise to soothe your body's aches and pains and various skin conditions. The SF collective Flour Child, which specializes in products high in cannabidiol (CBD), makes the best balm around. With mango and kokum butters, Relief Balm ($25 for 1.5oz jar; available at Sava) is moisturizing and relaxing. // Using whole plant cannabis extract along with other healing herbs (chamomile, calendula, vitamin C), Little Green Bee's Medicated Massage Oil ($10 for 10mL vial; available at Sava) is designed to ease pain and calm skin irritated by inflammation, psoriasis, and eczema. // HerbaBuena is pioneering the country's first-ever Demeter-Certified biodynamic cannabis—think of it like a USDA Organic certification—that guarantees all the flowers in your almond- and avocado-oil-infused Kneaded massage oil are sustainably grown outdoors and chemical-free. We also love the brand's All Better Balm and Quiver cannabis lube ($40 each, available at Sava). // Whoopi & Maya, from Whoopi Goldberg and Om Edibles' founder Maya Elisabeth, is a luxurious line of cannabis edibles and relaxation products geared to women. We love the pretty packaging of the brand's new bath soaks ($12; available at dispensaries Bay Area–wide), made with pharmacological grade Epsom salt, sun-grown cannabis, and therapeutic essential oils. Simply draw a hot bath and add a half to a whole jar of Soak, and let your skin (and your colon) absorb all the healing effects. (PS: You can also buy the just as lovely Om Edibles' brand of infused Epsom salts ($16 at Sava).
FITNESS + EVENTS
Oakland-based instructor Dee Dussault was the first person to bring the ancient combination of cannabis and yoga to the United States. She's known for her free-spirited Ganja Yoga classes ($25; rotating venues) that are anything but intimidating—expect a friendly crowd with mixed yoga skills and varying degrees of experience with weed—and also offers occasional yoga retreats up north. In 2017, the guru published her first book ($20, Harper Collins). // Online delivery service Sava is also gaining a reputation for its beautifully curated events, many focused on wellness. For instance, the gang is celebrating 4/20 this year with a private cello concert. Go to the events page for a schedule of salons including a series on sex and cannabis, in collaboration with Good Vibrations, and one on skincare with Little Green Bee founder Bridget May. // The Four Twenty Games were created by a group of so-called stoners who set out to crush that stereotype and celebrate cannabis as part of a healthy lifestyle with an annual multi-city sporting event. This year's fest will include a 4.2 mile fun run (or ride), a beer garden, and live music (Aug. 11 at Golden Gate Park; tickets are $4.20-$60).
—Additional reporting by David Downs.
Bud Crawls, Farm Tours + More California Cannabis Getaways
An aerial view of the sprawling Flow Cannabis Institute—the world's first central processing facility for cannabis, which opened this spring in Mendocino County.
(Courtesy of Flow Kana)
Pack a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and your vaporizer: Here are some guaranteed "Weed Country" escapes where you can, at last, behave as if marijuana is legal (because it is).
PS: Don't need to make a weekend of it? There are also guided tours now on offer right here in SF.
BAY AREA: Do you really want to know where your cannabis comes from—and how it got there? Emerald Farms Tours offers half-day guided rides through the San Francisco landmarks where legal marijuana began; as well as Seed to Sale tours of grow facility and retail shops, departing from Oaksterdam in Oakland. This spring, the company will launch a full-day behind-the-scenes tour of Sonoma County's outdoor farms including lunch, munchies, and deep discounts on the good stuff. // Someone had to be the first to organize a bud crawl, and it's Green Guide Tours, offering what purports to be California's first (and only) marijuana walking tour, with a guided and curated introduction to smoking lounges, compassion programs, and more (free to $14).
MENDOCINO COUNTY: You can't stay overnight and wake and bake at the B&B, and you can't get married there or try a cannabis tasting at the property's saloon—but you be able to do all this (and more) soon. This April, Flow Kana announced the opening of its Flow Cannabis Institute, the world's first centralized processing facility for weed. Situated on a swath of rolling hills once utilized by Fetzer Wines, the campus is working with small craft farmers in the Emerald Triangle to process, package, brand, and distribute their sustainably sun-grown and harvested strains. // The notion of serving Humboldt Royal Kush along with poached eggs and coffee in a cozy cottage tucked in a rustic setting isn't exactly original—but neither is "breakfast." Setting and execution sell the idea at Love In It Cooperative in Albion, CA, where your overnight stay in an intimate orchard cottage includes a medicated first meal of the day ($150/night for double occupancy). // Someday soon, California will flaunt rather than flout its place in marijuana history. For now, it's up to people like Annie Waters, proprietor of the nearby Cannabis Culture Museum and the eco-friendly B&B Mendo Green Goddess Studio (both in Willits), to guard the flame. // In Hopland, Emerald Pharms is one part art gallery, one part green tech wonderland—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.
SONOMA COUNTY: California's Wine Country is also marijuana country, and the two finished products pair well together (as long as someone else is driving). Long separated by law and custom, the twain meet at Cinque Terre, where private casitas—situated on 12 tranquil acres in the Mayacamas Mountains—are rented to just one group or family at a time. From here, Napa and Sonoma are at your fingertips. // Each December, the real stoner crowd, about 21,000 dense, heads to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa for The Emerald Cup, a homegrown yet world-class weed fair with an awards ceremony in the Hall of Flowers and more freebies than you can consume or carry.
—Additional reporting by David Downs.
Where to (Still) Get Your MMJ Card + Pot Docs in the Bay Area
BRICK AND MORTAR
There's still utility in seeing a physician for a medical marijuana recommendation. For one, you get to see a physician. Every time we see Dr. Hanya Barth at Compassionate Health Options (1200 Howard St., SoMa), half the talk has nothing to do with cannabis. If only our general practitioner cared so much about our diet and sleep schedule.
Meadow MD (from the same folks who run the delivery service) is an online portal for providing medical marijuana recommendations. Simply go online, enter your zip code, and schedule a 20 to 30 minute video evaluation ($100 for new patients, $50 for renewals) with a medical board-certified doctor. // In addition to being an encyclopedic resource for newbies unsure about what's what—you'll find deets on products from more than 600 cannabis brands as well as recipes and editorials on topics ranging from the environment to sex—HelloMD is a snappy, fully legal, and secure smartphone app that will give you a physician's recommendation for cannabis ($59) via video conference in just 20 minutes. // With PrestoDoctor, patients can get a doctor's recommendation in about 20 minutes ($50). When the session is over, your recommendation will be emailed to you instantly, and you'll be in line at The Apothecarium in less than an hour.
FULL SPECTRUM MEDICINE
Berkeley has one of the only marijuana-friendly family practices we can name, where Dr. Frank Lucido and Nurse Practitioner Maria Mangini (2300 Durant Ave., Berkeley) are open, honest, and accommodating. If you have serious questions about using cannabis to treat cancer or autism, this is your place. // Need someone to help you navigate using cannabis for a complex condition? Call Eloise Theisen at Green Health Consultants (3184 Old Tunnel Rd., Ste E, Lafayette), a registered nurse who counsels patients on how to use cannabinoids safely and effectively to treat illnesses and reduce the intake of pharmaceuticals. She provides patients with phone, office and in-home counseling, and individualized treatment plans developed in collaboration with dietitians and patients' doctors. // Oncologist Dr. Donald Abrams, of UCSF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, is something of a miracle worker for his repeated success in convincing the U.S. government to let him study actual cannabis treatments for conditions including HIV and sickle cell disease. // Dr. Rachna Patel (710 S. Broadway, Ste. 204, Walnut Creek) helps patients with both simple and complex medical cases navigate the world of cannabis. Dr. Patel sees patients in person to create personalized treatment plans for everything from anxiety to fibromyalgia and Crohn's disease. She'll examine your lab results, teach you what to shop for, and take into consideration that all-important factor: Do you want to feel high?
—Additional reporting by David Lytle, Andrea Brooks, and David Downs.
*This guide has been updated as of April 20, 2018.