The San Francisco Bay Area has a green thumb when it comes to growing cannabis brands—in recent years, the home of the Gold Rush has given way to the Green Rush, with dispensaries and various high-minded ventures sprouting up all over the place.
And while not all cannabis brands are created equal, changing perspectives, loosening laws, and plenty of competition in the market has led to a fresh moment in marijuana history: Cannabis has officially entered the modern mainstream world, breaking down the old stoner stigmas and appealing to an audience that values wellness, quality, and style. Among this new generation of cannabis brands comes Medithrive, whose recently opened Mission District location feels more contemporary store than gritty dispensary of yesteryear.
Medithrive—called the "Apple store of dispensaries" in 7x7's 2016 Friendly Guide to Cannabis—isn't new, but rather a mainstay name in SF cannabis circles. When the brand first opened its Mission Street doors back in September 2009, it ushered in a whole new aesthetic for the local pot shop: Rich moss and deep wood shared wall space with works by local artists, creating a sophisticated yet homegrown space for cannabis patients to procure their medicine. The company was among the city's early pioneers who brought upscale concepts to the dispensary model—SPARC and The Apothecarium both opened within the year.
For the next couple years, Medithrive strategically built its reputation for high quality medicine and consistent, compassionate service, becoming one of the most established cannabis brands in the Bay Area. That is, until the fall of 2011, when the U.S. government put landlords across the state on notice. The message was clear: Continue business with cannabis dispensaries, and risk forfeiture and seizure of your properties. Medithrive's landlords were forced to shut their doors, but in typical Bay Area entrepreneurial fashion, they didn't let that stop them: Medithrive got in the delivery game, bringing its full menu high quality cannabis to patients' homes.
Over the next few years, the climate surrounding cannabis grew brighter as public perception swung toward approval and the federal government views on marijuana evolved. In 2015, the Medithrive team decided the timing was right, and the dispensary reopened, revealing a high-polish renovation, in its old home on Mission Street.
Microscopes and flatscreen TVs for up-close viewing of flowers give the dispensary a high-tech SF vibe.(Courtesy of Medithrive)
With a vision to break with conventional cannabis stereotypes, Medithrive aimed to incorporate the best forward-thinking concepts from modern, mainstream retail. The brand stripped all the physical barriers between the patient and consultant (commonly known as the budtender), and opened a stylish showroom that can be viewed from the street. Just like any of your favorite local boutiques, Medithrive has a welcoming vibe—no bars on the windows, no products under lock and key—a shop like any other, and a cool one, too.
Here, expertly grown cannabis flowers are given the respectful showing they deserve, floated under museum-style glass domes, just waiting to be taken out and flaunted, their quality on display, beneath live video microscopes hooked up to flatscreen TVs. Artisanal edibles are displayed patisserie-style in an elegant glass case, tempting anyone with a taste for sweet and savory snacks. Technology further enhances the patient experience, making perusal of the goods and ultimate purchases fun and easy thanks to roaming staffers equipped with iPads. And you'll never have to wait in line!
Flowers are well lit and displayed under glass domes for total transparency of quality.(Courtesy of Medithrive)
All this gorgeous aesthetic and cool technology wouldn't mean much, though, without the highest quality medicine on offer at a great value. Rest assured, Medithrive's standards are as elevated as its design. The staff here is experienced and professional and really knows their stuff. Go ahead, ask them anything at all about anything on the menu—they are well trained to share the total Medithrive experience.
The Medithrive group has created a cannabis retail concept that is forward thinking and critically acclaimed. Time and patient endorsement will determine its success, but it is worth a visit if just to see how far cannabis has come. // Medithrive, 1933 Mission St. (Mission), medithrive.com
Medithrive's edibles counter stocks an array of sweet and savory treats available in micro-doses as well as higher doses for experienced consumers.(Courtesy of Medithrive)