Marijuana goes mainstream - Page 9

Take a tour of the Bay Area's best cannabis clubs, which are proving that prohibition is the problem, not pot



The people who run Sanctuary (669 O'Farrell St.), the first club to fully comply with the new city regulations and get its permanent license, have been active in the political push for normalizing medical marijuana, as a wall full of awards and letters from politicians attests. Owner Michael Welch was commended for his work by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, where Sanctuary employee Tim Durning has been an active longtime member and former elected officer.

Sanctuary has a generous compassionate giving program and caters to lots of poor residents of the Tenderloin neighborhood. While the club is prohibited from allowing smoking, they fudge the restriction with a Volcano vaporizer. "A lot of patients are on fixed income and live in the SROs, where they can't smoke, so we let them vaporize here whether they buy from us or not," Durning told us.

Those who do buy from them find a huge selection — including 20 different kinds of hash and 17 varieties of buds — at a wide price range. Staffers know their products well and take their business seriously, giving a regular spiel to new members about responsible use, which includes maintaining neighborhood relations by not smoking near the business.

Buds weighed on purchase

Open for: five years

Price: Low to moderate

Selection: High

Ambiance: Campaign headquarters for the marijuana movement

Smoke On Site: No, but vaporizing OK

Thug factor: Low

Access/Security: Easy



If low prices or a huge selection of edibles are what you seek, Green Door (843 Howard St., could be the club for you.

Eighths of good green buds start at a ridiculously low $25 and go up to just $50 (the cheapest price for eighths at many clubs and also the standard black market price). If that's not low enough, super-broke users can buy a quarter-ounce bag of high-grade shake for $40.

If you didn't already have the munchies going in, you'll get them perusing the huge menu of edibles: from weed-laced knockoffs of Snickers bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for just $5 to cupcakes, ice cream, or Chex party mix. They have lots of hash and other concentrates as well.

Somehow, the club also manages to have a strong compassionate giving program and contibutes to local civic organizations that include the Black Rock Arts Foundation, Maitri AIDS Hospice, and Friends of the Urban Forest.

The club itself is a little sterile and transactional, with an institutional feel and employees stuck behind teller windows. But even though that and the steady flow of tough-looking young male customers raise its thug factor a bit, the employees all seemed friendly and helpful, giving free edibles to first-time customers.

Prepackage buds

Open for: 8 years (4 here, 4 in Oakland)

Price: Cheap

Selection: High for edibles, moderate for weed

Ambiance: Like a community bank of cheap weed

Smoke On Site: No

Thug factor: Moderate

Access/Security: Easy access, high security



While I had heard good things about Re-Leaf (1284 Mission St.), my first impression was that it's a little sketchy. As the door guy was checking my recommendation card and ID, I asked whether they allow smoking on site. He looked as if this was a difficult question, paused, and finally told me to ask the people behind the counter.


Great roundup, Steve, and enjoyable to read as well.

Posted by alapoet on Feb. 02, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

Excellent article. The time has come to end this ridiculous prohibition!

Posted by geofos on Feb. 02, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

Hayward is one of the largest cities in the Bay Area, and on Tuesday 2/16/10 they're going to meet to enact a ban on medical marijuana clinics. They say it's because they're for safety -- how can forcing that trade into the streets and increasing criminal activity and violence be safer? It's almost as if some of the city's elected leaders are being influenced to vote against compassion. URL in header for link to story.

Posted by DanB on Feb. 15, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

So many taboos are being struck down in this society. Not only are the dispensaries still legal and in business, but there's a movement in November (just in California... for now) to vote and legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Incredible. I love this.

Posted by Katie on Apr. 22, 2010 @ 12:25 am

Here's my issue:

I don't have a whole lot and, those perscriptions are, not only, expensive but, I feel, are a
violation of the cannons of my religion (contributing to the pharmaceutical industry is not
[exceedingly] humane).

I tried to get a "compassion" bag from a pot club once (I don't have a whole lot of much) but,
was turned away for not having a medical pot card.

I realize that, those bags, are distributed as a courtesy and, that those clubs are in the busi-
ness of being in business;However, I have to wonder about clubs who advertise those com-
passion bags but, won't give a little to local "folks" who, because of the "economic dispar-
agement" , need a little to help with our stress (it isn't easy being "economically disparaged"
in San Francisco [ask Mayor Newsom]).

This is just "food" for thought.

Posted by DanielW on Jun. 06, 2010 @ 10:58 am

DanielW: You have to be joking? Nothing is free and if you want the same perks as patients then you have to be one, it is a "club" not a soup kitchen!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2010 @ 2:08 pm