BY ED MURRIETA
Sacramento’s City Council recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of the nations’s first event featuring open consumption of cannabis in public.
The next milestone facing Sacramento is whether the city should permit cannabis lounges — licensed and regulated places where adults age 21 and over can congregate to consume cannabis in social settings, like the lounge scene in San Francisco.
The city is expected to consider allowing cannabis lounges this fall. If allowed, applicants will be limited to currently operating businesses holding retail sales licenses from the state, and locations will be tied to stores’ physical addresses.
Until then, here are my top five contenders for opening Sacramento’s first cannabis lounge:
My observations and comments, based on the nature of the current operation, management’s credibility, and future lounges’ locations and proximity to public transit, are contained within the embedded map below.
BY ED MURRIETA
SAN FRANCISCO — Like Amsterdam, this lusty city-state boasts picaresque history, edgy authenticity, mind-blowing art and Instagrammable sights, and among inclined travelers is a cannabis bucket-list destination. From Barbary Coast Bohemians to Beat generation poets and the Sixties’ Summer of Love to today’s legalized renaissance, cannabis has enshrouded San Francisco in intoxicating fog, a heady come-hither whether you wear flowers in your hair or Kate Spades on your feet. Once, tourists scored baggies of pot from hygiene-challenged ragamuffins on hippie-haven Haight Street; modern visitors marvel at the commercialization and wide-spread availability of California’s top agricultural product now that it’s taxed and regulated by the state and innovated by artisans and entrepreneurs. So dive into world-class cannabis retailing; decadent social-consumption lounges; gourmet meals and five-star hotel spa massages incorporating the plant; and local craft beer and cocktails spiked with cannabis extracts, toasting San Francisco’s gay and high history.
BY ED MURRIETA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Twenty years before recreational cannabis was legalized in California and public consumption was explicitly prohibited, the state’s medicinal cannabis users were already allowed to smoke cannabis wherever it’s legal to smoke cigarettes. In the state capital, thanks to the tobacco lobby, cigarette smoking is allowed on state property and near some state buildings in downtown Sacramento.
That means qualified medicinal cannabis users can smoke on steps of the state Capitol, on park benches surrounding the Capitol’s grounds, atop a subterranean building, in a cool, shady bamboo thicket set against a waterwall near the state’s really cool, harlequin-esque power tower, and beneath the Moon Tree, a Sequoia Redwood grown from seed that went to space aboard NASA’s Apollo 14 in 1971.
Here are some of the best and most convenient locations for medicinal cannabis users walking, biking or commuting downtown Sacramento’s famous tree-lined streets.
Take a break.
It’s legal. Nonetheless, carry valid ID and your current medicinal cannabis authorization.
BY ED MURRIETA
Four San Francisco culinary stars were recognized by the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards this week. By way of toasting their accomplishments and complementing their allure, here are my suggestions for pairing San Francisco’s Beard award-winners and the city’s best legal commercial cannabis experiences.
Dominique Crenn + Barbary Coast
Poetic, adventuresome, traditional and modernist all describe San Francisco’s two Michelin star chef and the city’s sexiest cannabis destination. Dominique Crenn, chef and owner of Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn and Petit Crenn, won the Beard award for best chef in the Western United States. If there was an analogous award for best all-in-one store-dab bar-smoke lounge in the West, it would be Barbary Coast. Aesthetically an homage to old-school San Francisco’s Gilded Era vice district. Barbary Coast is straight-up state-of-the-art — from high-end concentrates to high-tech vaporizers and HVAC systems that silently suck smoke from the room so it doesn’t stink up your clothes.
B. Patisserie + SPARC
The work-and-life partners behind B. Patisserie, a small Pacific Heights bake shop with a cult-like following, are San Francisco baking royalty. Belinda Leong was pastry chef at San Francisco fine-dining notables Gary Danko and Manresa. Michael Suas founded the San Francisco Baking Institute. Get their killer kouign amann to go and enjoy the buttery Britney-style croissant buns South of Market at SPARC, along with Volcano-vaped, farm-grown, lab-tested cannabis and free hot tea from the self-serve bar. (SPARC told me $2 cups of organic family-farmed coffee are on the way.)
In Situ + Urban Pharm
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s restaurant serves “borrowed” dishes “on loan” from world-renowned chefs. Feed your head on a la carte dabs at Urban Pharm (or smoke joints if that’s your jam) then feast your eyes on intentionally spare alternate dimensions at In Situ, which won the Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design (76 seats and over). Like In Situ, Urban Pharm elides polished and raw, a steampunked Burning Man blend of cut metal and re-purposed wood.
Zuni Cafe + The Apothecarium
The iconic restaurant’s roast chicken and hamburger are both longtime legends. Now. Zuni’ Cafe‘s front of the house gets its due — Beard’s Outstanding Service award. Hop on a classic street car for a half-mile ride to The Apothecarium, the flagship of three local cannabis stores where chandeliers, marble counters and soft music ooze elegance of high-end jewelry boutiques. To match Zuni’s service, let The Apothecarium’s professional consultants guide you through a delicious selection of California’s best edibles, concentrates and cannabis strains.
BY ED MURRIETA
SACRAMENTO — California tax revenue for the first three months of cannabis legalization is way below state projections but not as bad as partial figures teased this week in a state economist’s blog post.
The state on Friday released full financial figures from California cannabis revenue for the first quarter of taxed and regulated sales — including excise, cultivation and sales taxes.
An initial figure of $34 million in combined excise and cultivation emerged Wednesday in a blog post by an economist at the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Friday’s figures the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration was slightly lower — $32 million from the state’s 15 percent excise tax and $1.6 million from the $9.25-per-ounce cultivation tax. The CTDFA released sales tax figures showing $27.3 million in revenue, not counting city and county taxes.
Tax revenue for the first quarter of 2018 totaled $60.9 million, less than half of the state’s projection of $175 million for the fiscal year ending in June.
Ed’s Note: Ed Murrrieta is an experienced, versatile journalist who needs full-time work. Read him. Hire him.
BY ED MURRIETA
SACRAMENTO, CA — California adults are not purchasing enough taxed-and-regulated cannabis to meet the state’s revenue projections for the first six months of legal, levied sales.
A report due Friday from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration will show the state collected $34 million in cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2018 — leaving the state $141 million shy of the $175 million it predicted cannabis cultivation and excise taxes will generate by the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, June 30.
The figures were published online Tuesday in a blog post by an economist at the state Legislative Analyst’s Office and are the latest indication that California cannabis consumers may be turning to the black market to avoid paying up to 45 percent taxes when local sales taxes are factored.
The Department of Tax and Fee Administration figures do not address local taxes, which range from 7.25 percent to 9.25 percent, and are tallied at the local level.
In addition to black-market sales affecting state projections, lower-than-forecast tax revenues may be due to the number of California cities and counties banning cannabis businesses, and the late start of adult-use retail sales in Los Angeles, the state’s largest market.