A local marijuana reporter's field notes and gossip from the intersection of pot, money, and power in the epicentral San Francisco Bay Area.
SHOP: High-End Retail
Elitism may be a dirty word, but hey, the upper crust deserves a safe space to buy marijuana, too. Enter San Francisco's classiest new dispensary. Harvest, now open for business on Geary in the Inner Richmond, is the perfect pit stop for professionals who, after a long day of work downtown, commute home to their Sea Cliff homes to curl up with a glass of cabernet and some choice indica flower.
In the home of the former Hemp Center—an iconic dispensary but certifiable dump that notably helped launch the Girl Scout Cookies strain—the address was scooped up by Oakland developer Marty Higgins, who reportedly purchased the building, along with the permit to operate the dispensary, for $3.5 million. Then, a full gutting ensued.
The new Harvest is downright magical—a signal of what's to come from next generation pot clubs. Gone are the aesthetic nods to dingy methadone clinics and bulletproof-glassed check-cashing kiosks. With a muted gray façade, stylish industrial pendant lamps, and a modern sans serif logo, Harvest feels more like a high-end tea boutique meets The Body Shop. Large windows, stamped with a sandblasted abstract daisy, provide full transparency to what's inside. And there's no linebacker-sized security guard to skeptically eyeball passersby. Simply open the door and be greeted by a cheerful gal who'll direct you to a small sign-up table.
High-grade craft cannabis extracts from Guild Extracts, including this Sour Diesel A-Pow, are on offer at Harvest. (Courtesy of Guild Extracts)
Once inside the city's cleanest-smelling club—the owners spent a fortune on state-of-the-art ventilation that'll make air quality snobs gasp—let the tasteful scents of cinnamon and lavender soothe you while you sip a free Pellegrino and sign up on an iPad to the tune of “All Along the Watchtower." Then, you're free to shop, and here's where Harvest really breaks from the pack: Unlike pretty much every other dispensary where product is hidden behind the counter and accessed only by the budtenders, Harvest looks more like a high-end natural cosmetics store, with all of its offering proudly displayed on the shelves to be picked up and perused by you. And since high-class prices guarantee there's no hoi polloi around to bother you, you can take your time as you shop some of the most expensive cannabis extracts in the world.
On our recent visit, as the yoga pant and Converse crowd hung out and tasted samples of medicated chocolate, we spotted standouts including $218 per gram THC-A and CBD extracts from The Guild; Gorilla Glue #4, the hot strain of the moment so named for its resinous stickiness; the CBD-rich C-3PO; and Dragonfish Farms' Chem 4, a phenotype of Chemdawg that promises an energetic, dissociative head high that lasts for hours. Harvest is also stocked with some of the finest edibles, topicals, tinctures, and extracts—there's even plenty of Foria's cannabis lube for ladies.
But that's not all: Harvest takes the exclusivity angle one step further with its private, members-only lounge at the back of the store. Plush leather couches and elegant coffee table books about bud await. // Harvest, 4811 Geary Blvd. (Inner Richmond), 415-702-6767
Created by an Outer Sunset athlete to help manage pain, Outset's low dose vegan fruit crisps are designed for a healthy lifestyle and are available online at Sava. (Courtesy of Outset Edibles)
ALSO… Seekers of health-minded, handcrafted cannabis edibles and body products have a hot new curated place to shop online. Sava—a local online retailer not so different from Etsy—brings together small-batch brands, many of them Bay Area based. Among the offering are yummy low-dose pineapple fruit crisps (also vegan and gluten-free) from the Outer Sunset brand Outset Edibles; Herbabuena body oil; and pre-rolls from the Bay Area's lady-run Hepburn's.
PS: Sava will host its first Salon Dinner on February 26 at a private venue in the Mission. For $100, ticket buyers (this is expected to sell out) will enjoy a five-course, plant-based (non-medicated) meal paired with curated strains, Firefly vapes, and a gift bag to go. // Sava, getsava.com
If you'd prefer to take your cannabis with a billion live cultures and a hit of rich dark chocolate, then these probiotic bites are for you. (Courtesy of Functional Flora)
TASTED: Chocolate Therapy
Speaking of amazing edibles: Three great trends have officially collided with the launch of Functional Flora, maker of marijuana-infused, probiotic gourmet chocolates. Why, you might ask?
Well, according to the Berkeley company's founder, Charlotte Burger Troy, disturbances to your microbiome can cause everything from rashes and acne to yeast infections and even gastrointestinal issues linked to mental illness. And the skin and the gut, as it happens, are major centers of endocannabinoid system activity. So, it makes sense to combine support for symbiotic bacteria (probiotics) with support for the nervous system (cannabis' THC).
The bite-sized therapeutic candies are made with pesticide-free pot (lab-tested for potency and pathogens), artisanal dark and mint dark chocolate, and robust probiotics—each 5 mg THC bite contains 70 percent cacao and 10 billion live cultures. As for the high? You shouldn't feel a thing. // Functional Flora, functionalflora.com
Contact Cannabis Insider's Herb Caine with event announcements, tips, notes, and rumors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Herb Caine is a pseudonym for Bay Area cannabis reporter David Downs—a columnist, editor, and best-selling author, with The Medical Marijuana Guide Book (Whitman), coming out in 2016.