Cannabis Issue: Testing the tokes at Bay Area dispensaries
CANNABIS CLUB GUIDE 2012 When we first created our detailed local Cannabis Club Guide two years ago — which you can find at www.sfbg.com/cannabisguide — it seemed as if the marijuana business had entered a golden age of openness and professionalism in San Francisco. But with a federal crackdown shuttering at least a half-dozen dispensaries in the Bay Area (Market Street Collective, Sanctuary, Mr. Nice Guy, Medithrive, Divinity Tree, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana) things have changed. Luckily for needy patients and stoners alike, San Francisco has always been a resourceful city, so those meddling feds have actually done very little to disrupt the free flow of the world's best marijuana.
Even before the cannabis industry moved above ground and into brick-and-mortar storefronts, there were always pot delivery services here. Now they're really proliferating, so we thought it was high time to add them to our guide. And once we delved into this realm, we found that it was every bit as civilized and professional as a visit to our friendly neighborhood dispensary — and perhaps even more convenient and cost-effective.
The process seems just as secure and legally compliant as it is at the clubs, with most reputable delivery services requiring that you become a member before accessing their products. That means sending them copies of your doctor's recommendation and California ID, which can be even done from a photo on your smart phone. After the services verify you, you're good to go.
We're starting the guide with just a trio of the most high-profile delivery services, as well as a couple more dispensaries, but we'll be adding to the online guide throughout the year, so check back frequently for more updates.
THE GREEN CROSS
This is one of San Francisco's premier cannabis clubs, setting the standard for everyone else in terms of quality, professionalism, and advocacy for the industry. My sources had long been telling me that the Green Cross carries the best weed in the city — information validated by the long string of awards it accumulates at cannabis competitions. And founder Kevin Reed has been a passionate, high-profile leader in the community for years.
But I became even more impressed once I actually used the service. Its great website features the best descriptions of its nearly two dozen strains of lab-tested marijuana, including where and how it was grown, as well as products ranging from inexpensive pipes to eye drops. I settled on a $40 eighth of Blue Deliah, a sativa-dominant hybrid that looked both cheap and good.
Within about 30 minutes, the friendly delivery guy showed up at my apartment, handed me a white paper bag full of goodies, and charged me $35 with my new customer discount. Inside the bag, there was a grinder, a cool jar, rolling papers, a lighter and other Green Cross swag, a pot cookie, non-medicated munchies, an information packet, a receipt stuck to the inside of the bag — and a baggie of beautifully trimmed buds.
Opened in 2004
Price: Low to average
Selection: Huge and high-quality
Delivery time: Super fast
Sketch factor: Very low
Access: Secure but easy to use
When Medithrive opened as a dispensary in my Mission District neighborhood, it became one of my favorite clubs, so I was disappointed to see it shut down by threats from the federal government late last year. But it immediately reinvented itself as a delivery-only club, and it still retains the friendly service and large selection that first endeared me to it.