Month: February 2018

Follow Northstar to Top-Shelf Flowers and Budget Deals in Sacramento

BY ED MURRIETA

Prohibition-era zoning pushed many cannabis stores to cities’ industrial fringes. Northstar Holistic Collective, while technically in the heart of downtown Sacramento, is located in a neighborhood that was, just a generation ago, an industrial edge of the capital city, where Victorian homes, leafy trees and tired warehouses comfortably coexist today.

It’s here on a quiet corner near a light-rail station, a historic highway and a Quonset hut that one of Sacramento’s oldest shops consistently proves why it’s one of the city’s best: fine flowers, concentrates galore, across-the-board prices, smart budtenders, easy parking and no pretense.

Check-in is no-fuss and high-tech. Get buzzed in, hand your ID to the receptionist and look into a camera connected to software that’ll digitally compare your facial features to the photo on your ID, one of the ways cannabis stores are trying to prevent ID fraud and over-visiting.

Easy-to-read flat-panel menus on the waiting room wall are helpful and convenient — not just because you’ll be sitting in a comfortable chair in a spacious room for 10 to 15 minutes at peak times but because Northstar’s old-school glass retail cabinets aren’t much to look at and pretty much serve as storage and counter space.

Northstar is my go-to store for bargain bud. While you’ll find many great top-shelf strains (Animal Cookies and Titan OG tempt me at $50 an eighth, pre-tax), you’ll also find incredible strains (recently: Mr. Nice Guy, Kalifa Kush) for $50 per half ounce (that’s four eighths), pre-tax.

House joints ($7 mid-grade, $10 top-shelf) are pleasurable and priced right. While I don’t buy concentrates, I recognized many of the resins and shatters I’ve sampled in the lounge at Urban Pharm, Northstar’s San Francisco cousin. Northstar has a good selection of edibles and topicals, too.

Northstar recently added a great new perk for its medicinal cannabis customers. Your printed-on-paper Prop. 215 recommendation — no need for the $100 county-issued card — will save you nearly half off the 23.75 percent combined state and local taxes Northstar charges adult-use customers.

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Will Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Talk About His Love of Cannabis in Stage Show?

NBA legend will tour America, talking about his life, his influences and ‘some of the more important pop-culture issues.’

BY ED MURRIETA

Aside from being one of the world’s best high school, college and professional basketball players ever, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a civil-rights activist, best-selling author, historian, jazz aficionado and cannabis connoisseur.

This fall, Abdul-Jabbar will mount a cross-country stage show tour, “Becoming Kareem,” in which he’ll discuss his life, answer audience questions and talk about mentors he says helped him achieve his goals — seminal figures from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to legendary coach John Wooden and fellow superstar athletes Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain.

In a video interview with the Associated Press, Abdul-Jabbar hints at talking about “some of the more important pop-culture issues.”

Here’s hoping those important pop-culture issues include cannabis because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likes cannabis.

The 70-year-old NBA legend  has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is among the top-10 highest-achieving cannabis users inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  Abdul-Jabbar first smoked pot at age 17, an event he called “one of my first major individual decisions.”

“I’ve certainly smoked more than my quota of weed,” he wrote in his 1983 autobiography, “Giant Steps.” “For a while there at UCLA I didn’t want to hang out with anyone who didn’t smoke reefer.”

Abdul-Jabbar smoked cannabis throughout his 20-year basketball career and afterward, using it, he says, to alleviate migraines and control nausea induced by the headaches.

He was arrested in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in 1998 while carrying six grams of cannabis. In 2000, he was arrested in the San Fernando Valley on suspicion of driving under the influence of pot.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar supports legalization.

Reds, Whites and Green: Here’s the Buzz About Making Cannabis Wine at Home

Artisanally extract and infuse the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into wine. Plus a recipe for my mold-breaking red wine cannabis gelee.

BY ED MURRIETA

Cannabis wine is civilization’s original intoxicating collision: two great buzzes that buzz great together.

Evidence of cannabis wine — aka green wine — has been found in ancient writings and historic digs. A timeless tincture, cannabis wine’s uses have ranged from spiritual to medicinal to bacchanalian.

In modern culture — eg: California, circa 2018 — cannabis wine is a holy grail that got away.

Legalization outlawed commercially combining cannabis and alcohol, just as some boutique West Coast vintners were producing $400 bud-bouquetted bottles slowly fermented from grape juice and cannabis, artisanally extracting and infusing the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into fine wine.

Feel free to toast underground winemakers in Sonoma, Mendocino and Mesopotamia — or anywhere grapes and cannabis grow — and  invest in a home wine-making rig so you can ferment your own potent potables.

Or you can kitchen-hack cannabis wine at home using a simple, if less elegant, infusion of weed, wine and time.

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San Francisco Cannabis Lounges Reviewed and Mapped

Barbary Coast, Urban Pharm, Lounge 847 and ReLeaf Herbal serve recreational cannabis consumers in the heart of hotels, museums, entertainment and shopping.

BY ED MURRIETA

America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Denver. America’s first legal cannabis lounge will not open in Las Vegas. Forget about Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts, too. America’s first legal cannabis lounges are already open in San Francisco.

Permitted for more than a decade and tolerated since the earliest days of the city’s medicinal cannabis community in the 1990s, San Francisco cannabis lounges are models of public use in social settings. They’re now serving the city’s legal adult-use recreational cannabis market, including locals and tourists.

Here they are, reviewed and mapped.


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