Since recreational pot became legal in 2018, it’s seemingly everywhere in the Bay Area. From billboards referencing “420” above the on-ramp to the Bay Bridge to cannabis wellness products lining the shelves of grocery stores, there’s no avoiding the reality that pot is becoming more normalized by the day. Problems in the bedroom? There’s a cannabis product for that. Not ready to venture into a dispensary quite yet? Have it delivered straight to your door.
However, with so much new terminology (terpenes, full-spectrum versus CBD isolate) to learn and daily updates to the ever-evolving status of state regulations, it can be overwhelming to know what options are available. (Check out our basic guide to CBD here for starters). Fortunately, Bay Area residents are positioned to enjoy the best of what the regulated cannabis industry has to offer. Whether you’re an app person or prefer the experience of actually consulting with a budtender, you’re covered when it comes to pot.
The basics are pretty simple: any adult age 21 or older can legally purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries or through a licensed delivery service. Some services and dispensaries only serve medical patients — a distinction that requires a consultation with a doctor, and, in some cases, a Medical Marijuana Identification Card issued by the California Department of Public Health.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus only on options available to all adults (aka recreational) below.
The most popular option is to simply visit one of the many licensed dispensaries located in the Bay Area. While Marin County does not currently have any dispensaries licensed for recreational sales, you’re a bridge away from some of the best shops in the world.
In San Francisco, on-site consumption lounges set the Prohibition-themed Barbary Coast and the mid-century styled Moe Greens apart. As is the case with any industry, many dispensaries have curated a specific angle to set their business apart. San Francisco’s multiple Apothecarium locations all opt for a sleek, user-friendly experience. Oakland’s Harborside is one of the region’s premiere dispensaries as well, with an emphasis on product curation. You’ll also find dispensaries in Berkeley, like Hi-Fidelity, which opened in Amoeba Music’s jazz and classical room last year.
Tips for visiting a dispensary:
– Talk to the budtenders! They are there to help you understand the menu, answer any questions you may have, and offer suggestions based on what you need.
– Bring cash. Some dispensaries are able to accept debit and credit cards, but many still operate on a cash-only basis.
As explained above, the future of delivery is somewhat in flux thanks to ongoing litigation brought by 24 cities in California arguing that they should have the right to decide if cannabis deliveries are allowed in their locality. For now, deliveries are still allowed regardless of whether you live in an area with a physical dispensary.
The most popular option is Eaze, which serves as an interface that connects customers with a vetted collection of local dispensaries. Simply visit their website, consult their menu, and complete the check-out process. You’ll be given an ETA for when to expect your driver and be asked to show a state ID to confirm your age when they arrive. Another option is Flower Co., which bills itself as a Costco for cannabis by charging an annual membership fee and offering discounted, wholesale prices. Both services — as well as a number of others based in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley — delivery to most of Marin County.
Given San Rafael recently adopted a recreational cannabis program, one can expect more local options to emerge shortly.
3. Grow Your Own
Part of the law established by Prop 64 permits the personal cultivation of up to six plants. If you’re ready to put your green thumb to the test, you’ll want to read up on the rules and check out some of the myriad books, articles, and live demonstrations currently available on the subject. A good starting place is the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook by Ed Rosenthal, who is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the subject. Just remember that growing cannabis can be a tricky business, so expect a learning curve as you become familiar with the botanical art of cultivating pot.
4. Purchase Hemp-Derived CBD
Over the years, cannabis has mostly been known for its psychoactive effects due to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical compound in the plant. Recently, a new compound called CBD (cannabidioil) has grown in popularity for its vast health and wellness benefits with consumers claiming it helps to alleviate anxiety, stress, depression and pain. Unlike THC, CBD alone has no psychoactive effects which makes it a great choice for those who still need to go about their day.
Last December, the passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill federally legalized CBD derived from the hemp plant, a specific type of cannabis plant that characteristically has less than 0.3% THC. Shortly thereafter, CBD has been popping up everywhere from CBD coffee at the local cafe, to CBD-infused massage oil offered at the day spa. You can also buy CBD products safely online, as long as you do your homework to verify the CBD is coming from a good source. A female-founded company based here in Marin called Molly Jones is a good bet, selling high-end, luxury CBD Gumdrops in both 25mg and 50mg dosages. Another option is Juna, another female-founded Marin company that offers hemp-derived CBD in the form of tinctures.
Featured image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash