Author: Ed Murrieta (page 1 of 2)

Gringo: No Stoner Adventure. Just Potsploitation. Am I Right?

BY ED MURRIETA

“Gringo” — the movie purportedly about a pot pill, not the movie about spyware-killer John McAfee — opens Friday. If I retained enough community college film-appreciation learning, I’m figuring by the trailer and the commercial that’s been running on CNN for the past two weeks that the movie’s about:

  • Middle-class people audiences can’t believe are in the pot business.
  • Racist assumptions that although pot pills could be illegal to manufacture in America, it’s OK to  make them in Mexico because Mexico.
  • The black guy is always expendable in movies.
  • Can you believe Charlize Theron uses pot?

I’m hoping to catch a Saturday matinee.

Feel free to spoil.

Is Cannabis Legalization Pinching Your Travel Budget?

rotating_globeBY ED MURRIETA

Bucket lists are brimming with cannabis destinations as cultural and legal walls restricting growing, selling, buying and consuming the botanical herb fall across the Americas and tolerance reigns in some European cities.

Uruguay. Barcelona. Thailand. Toronto. Jamaica. Colorado. Las Vegas. Vancouver. San Francisco. Amsterdam.

Where will you spend your cannabis travel dollars in 2018?

What do you want for what you’ll spend?

Ed Murrieta’s Cannabis Edibles Safety App Pitch Deck

BY ED MURRIETA

Up In Smoke 1978 Movie Review: L.A. Times Wasn’t Amused

BY ED MURRIETA

Up In Smoke, Cheech and Chong’s cinematic 1978 stoner classic, marks its 40th anniversary this year. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times reviewed the movie upon its release.

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Ed Murrieta’s Cannabis Lounge Pitch Deck

Wherever cannabis is legal, the public needs safe and comfortable places to smoke pot and socialize. Here’s a vision for such a place, even a chain of smoking lounges. 

BY ED MURRIETA

S.F. 4/20 Permit Application Filed


BY ED MURRIETA

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department told me today it has received a permit application for this year’s 4/20 smokeout event in Golden Gate Park.  If granted, it’ll be the second year the long-running event has been permitted. Of course, there’ll be no cannabis sales like last year. Details are still being finalized but expect barriers, gates, toilets and maybe even food trucks. Who said cannabis legalization killed pot events? You’ve got two months to plan your 4/20. Use this map to figure out where you can legally purchase cannabis to take with you, plus where to eat and shop in the Haight-Ashbury.

Holy Cacao! Chocolate Experts Will Taste Test Cannabis Chocolate

Three noted Bay Area chocolatiers agree to assess looks, flavors and textures of leading brands.

BY ED MURRIETA

“Everyone loves chocolate and it makes people smile,” said the CEO of the 150-year-old chocolate company that bears his family’s name. “What could be better than that?”

Cannabis connoisseurs might respond, “Cannabis,” while missing the rhetorical futility of answering the chocolate CEO’s question.

From Montezuma to your grandma, chocolate tops many peoples’ list of life’s pleasures.  What could be better than chocolate? Better chocolate.

With that in mind, I asked three big names in California chocolate to eyeball and taste-test the chocolate contained in leading brands on sale in California cannabis stores. They all agreed. Taste-test pending an editor’s purchase of the story.

Never mind effects.  Experts will focus solely on brands’ chocolate quality, assessing cannabis bars on appearance, flavors and mouthfeel, caring more about cacao content than THC strength while minding the marriage of beans and terpenes in upmarket products that retail for double-digit prices.

Experts will sample only dark chocolate bars without any fruit, nut, candy or spice additives. Milk chocolate and white chocolate products were not considered.

Experts will focus on visual clues that reveal how products are manufactured, handled and stored; flavors that highlight cacao origins, roasting methods and cannabis infusion; and mouthfeel from first bite to final finish.

 

 

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

4/17 update: SPARC now now recreational.

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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Toasting the Time Sky-High Pot Taxes Drove Me to Drink

A hedonist child of the Seventies, I could only content myself with cannabis and coffee buzzes for so long.

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BY ED MURRIETA

I stopped drinking alcohol to save money.

I started drinking alcohol again to save money.

I jumped on the non-drinking wagon after being forced to live on a food-stamps budget.

I jumped off the wagon because the price of pot skyrocketed.

What I sought and rediscovered: pleasurable pairings of pot and booze — both the flavors and the effects.

A hedonist child of the Seventies, I could only content myself with cannabis and coffee buzzes for so long. Historic regulations that began Jan. 1 imposed sky-high taxes on legal California cannabis, increasing the out-the-door price of the $50 budget half-ounces I buy to $61.50, virtually pinching my weekly stash by two joints,

Right now, I’m dipping my toes back into drinking slowly and cheaply.  No more bottles of Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel or six packs of Anchor Brewing’s Breckle’s Brown Ale — now mere memories from my expense-account food journalism days. Jugs of Carlo Rossi Burgundy and cans of Mickey’s Malt Liquor have, so far, paired nicely with my favorite strain of the moment, Mr. Nice Guy, which is stretching further now thanks to evening drinks.

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Slip These ‘Edibles’ Under Your Tongue for Fast-Acting, Great-Tasting Highs

Kin Slips are discreet, effective and flavorful cannabis-infused sublinguals

BY ED MURRIETA

There are many ways to get cannabis into your body — smoking, vaping, eating, drinking, even inserting anally — but only one method and one product have made me stick out my tongue and say, “Oh, that’s tasty-good.”

Like a Willy Wonka wallpaper fantasy, the 1-inch square of Kin Slips’ paper-thin pectin-derived material tasted like watermelon gazpacho — a sweet, cool start, followed by a lingering, licoricey finish.

Kin Slips are discrete, effective and flavorful, smartly dosed, attractively packaged and reasonably priced. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in Oakland.

Although lumped in with edibles, Kin Slips and other sublinguals are not to be eaten. Rather than chewing and digesting Kin Slips, you place them under your tongue and hold them in your mouth, letting them dissolve into your bloodstream in a fraction of time it takes your body to process cannabis-infused chocolate bars and gummy candies through your liver and stomach.

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Cannabis Tourism Is a Thing in California

San Francisco Chronicle Travel section dives into Golden State’s legal new attraction.

sfchroniclecannabistourism

BY ED MURRIETA

I’ve got two stories in the San Francisco Chronicle’s California cannabis travel package today.

Here’s my story on the Top 5 California cannabis tourist destinations.

Here’s my story on the best cannabis-friendly lodgings.

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Pot Appetit’s Wayback Pages: ‘Features Section of Pot’ 2010 Prototype

Cannabis Buzzes Big Foodie

Bay Area food marketer has touted cannabis edibles and cannabis cuisine since 2014. This year, the Specialty Food Association listened. 

ccdi-cannabis-cuisine-on-horizon

Detail of CCD Innovation’s poster forecasting food trends for 2018.

BY ED MURRIETA

Read about it on GreenState. 

Go Ashore and Legally Score in 10 North American Pot Ports

Cannabis boutiques, lounges, dinners and other excursions
await West Coast cruise-ship travelers from Juneau to San Diego

BY ED MURRIETA

This year, North American cruise-ship travelers will disembark to legal cannabis on the West Coast of the United States and Canada.

Cruise ships docking in Juneau, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego today are just gangways away from legal ganja. By mid-summer, you can add Vancouver and Victoria, BC, to the West Coast’s legal pot ports. 

Pull into port on almost any major cruise line and immerse yourself in the best cannabis stores, the best cannabis lounges, the best cannabis dinners and the best cannabis activities in legal cannabis states and Canada. You can book tours or DIY day, overnight and multi-day excursions.

But just don’t carry or use cannabis on board cruise ships, whether in port or sailing the Pacific. Here’s the bottom line from one major cruise line servicing the West Coast:

No illegal drugs or other illegal substances are allowed onboard or may be utilized during a Royal Caribbean International cruise vacation, including during transfers to and from ships, inside terminals, while onboard, at our ports of call, during shore excursions or at our private destinations. Illegal drugs or substances will be confiscated and appropriate action taken, which may include removal from the ship …

Royal Caribbean says its interpretation of illegal is based on international law, not Alaska’s, not Washington’s, not California’s and not Canada’s. Expect similar rules from Princess, Norwegian, Holland America and other major cruise lines sailing the Pacific from Juneau to San Diego.

Of course, what paying adult passengers do in port is totally up to paying adult passengers. Go ashore. Local cannabis and cannabis culture are expecting you.

Here’s a cruise-ship travelers’ guide to buying, consuming and experiencing cannabis in West Coast port cities.
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San Francisco Scores First Public Cannabis Lounge in U.S.

Update 2/11: ReLeaf Herbal’s bare-bones lounge is now serving recreational adult-use customers.
Update 2/8: Green Door’s Lounge847 is now open for recreational consumers.
Update 1/18: Urban Pharm opened for recreational sales and lounge use today, Thursday Jan. 18.

Decadent, safe, comfortable and regulated, Barbary Coast is now serving recreational cannabis consumers.

Barbary Coast

A view of the dab bar at Barbary Coast’s lounge. 

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 lounge opened Thursday in San Francisco.

Actually, Barbary Coast Collective opened its luxe lounge next to its South of Market medicinal cannabis dispensary in March. Barbary Coast started serving adult-use recreational customers Thursday, making it the first legal, regulated cannabis lounge in America — the holy grail of the modern cannabis era.

“It’s something we’re proud of and excited about,” Barbary Coast director Jesse Henry told me. “I think we are going to get a lot of people who’ll think it’s like going to Amsterdam, and we’ll provide a safe, clean, comfortable place for folks to smoke.”

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California Traffic Safety Agency Pulls Ad Depicting Responsible Cannabis Users

California TV ad steered sober on stoned driving. Now it’s been yanked off the air and removed from YouTube.

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO — A federally funded California agency that produced a public-service advertisement depicting cannabis users as responsible people who chose not to drive under the influence of the Golden State’s newest legal intoxicant has pulled the daring commercial from television and YouTube.

California’s Office of Traffic Safety, which solicits and distributes funds from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released the anti-pot-driving PSA in the last week of December. The 30-second spot ran for about a week on local and cable TV stations and was posted with other anti-drugged driving PSAs on the OTS’s YouTube channel.

On Friday, the PSA stopped airing on television; OTS removed the video from YouTube. Both occurred one day after United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded guidelines recommending the Department of Justice not interfere with states’ cannabis laws.

Sacramento TV station Fox40 has the video here.

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Cannabis and Cars in 2018: No Smoking, No Eating, No Vaping, and Stuff Your Stash in Your Trunk

New California law outlaws consuming any form of cannabis in moving vehicles.

BY ED MURRIETA

California’s car culture and cannabis culture have been portrayed as two great things that go great together.

Fuggedaboutit, man.

Starting Monday,  drivers and passengers will be forbidden from smoking, vaping, eating, drinking or otherwise ingesting cannabis and cannabis products in moving vehicles. Gov. Jerry Brown approved the new law in September.

It is already illegal to drive while intoxicated on cannabis — even though the state has set no legal standard for impairment and no technology to measure impairment is in standard use by law enforcement.  It’s also illegal to have an open bag of cannabis in a motor vehicle.

Penalties for smoking and consuming cannabis in vehicles begin at $70 but could be as much as $10,000 if injuries or deaths are involved and insurance rates skyrocket, similar to the cost of a drunk driving ticket.

It’s already illegal to smoke cannabis in public (punishable by a $100 fine) so the famous “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” hot-box scene can’t legally be recreated today.

 

Big questions remain: How can law enforcement tell the difference between a regular cookie and a cannabis cookie? People eat and drive all the time. And how does a cop spot an e-cig vs. a vape pen?

To review:

San Francisco Cannabis Firsts

BY ED MURRIETA

Despite its history as California’s capital of drug culture and commerce, San Francisco was not the first city in the state to legally sell medicinal cannabis and will not be the first city in the state to legally sell recreational cannabis. (Berkeley nabbed the medicinal honor and Oakland will get the recreational glory.)

Historically, San Francisco’s other cannabis firsts include:

  • The Psychedelic Shop, the  first and most influential head shop in America, opening in January 1966, becoming the epicenter of hippie culture and commerce, including extra-legal drug sales and on-premises pot smoking.
  • Activist Dennis Peron, in 1974, opening The Island, a cannabis-friendly restaurant where pot was in the air and for sale upstairs.
  • The Board of Supervisors approving the first medical cannabis initiative in 1991, five years before California voters authorized medicinal cannabis.
  • Dennis Peron, in 1992, opening America’s first medicinal cannabis dispensary, San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, where people obtained and consumed cannabis.

Dennis Peron

Meantime, I’m on record predicting San Francisco will host the first legal cannabis lounge in America.

Dispel Your Pipe Dreams of Pot Parties a la Post-Prohibition Beer Busts


 

BY ED MURRIETA

Despite modern cannabis advertising in the back pages of alt-weekly newspapers, cannabis legalization will not be celebrated like the end of alcohol Prohibition was toasted.

Newspaper advertisements and photographs  culled from the morgues of the Sacramento Union and the Sacramento Bee show Sacramento celebrated the repeal of alcohol Prohibition in April 1933 — with ample amounts of beer and food in bars, restaurants, hotels and drug stores steps away from the state Capitol.

All the normals in Sacramento — the Midwest capital of the West Coast — would sprint to the nearest dog-friendly craft beer garage with their hair on fire if anything like this happened with pot.

This Is Your Reasonable PSA Video About Drugs

STORY UPDATE HERE

California TV ad steers sober on stoned driving.

BY ED MURRIETA

This public-service advertisement from California’s Office of Traffic Safety has been in heavy rotation on my cable TV channels this week. I’m trying to track down production and agency information for a story about public-service advertising in the age of legal cannabis.  Are we done with fried eggs and brain-damage claims? Ready for reasonable and responsible messages on TV?

The Ballad of Donald P. Scott, Man of Legends and Drug War Victim

Reclusive millionaire killed, no drugs found in 1992 botched raid and land theft.

BY ED MURRIETA

California is about legalize pot. If you’re not old enough to remember what it was like before medicinal cannabis became the state’s quasi-legal drug of choice in 1996, you should know there were dark days in the Golden State.

Take the 1992 story of Donald P. Scott,  a reclusive millionaire and man of legends killed  by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in a botched drug raid that covered up a blatant government land-seizure scheme and turned up no pot.
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Tokechella Is California’s Smoking-Hot Desert Cannabis Tourist Destination

Massive Cultivation, Most Dispensaries Per Capita
and Cannabis-Friendly Resorts and Rentals
Make Palm Springs, Cathedral City and
Desert Hot Springs a Pot, Pot, Pot, Pot World

BY ED MURRIETA

It’s high season in the Coachella Valley — for tourism and for pot.

Now’s the time to combine them both.

If you want to visit California next week for a taste of historic cannabis legalization in the Golden State, the Coachella Valley — in particular the resort-town cluster of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs —  is one of the best places to plan a cannabis getaway for Opening Day of legal pot sales, better than other California cannabis travel destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe, all lagging behind the Jan. 1 start date.

A longtime playground for movie stars, mobsters, sunseekers and alternative lifestyles 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley has the key elements intrepid cannabis travelers need to ring in California’s new legal era:

  • massive local cultivation;
  • most dispensaries per capita set to sell flowers, edibles and concentrates to adults age 21 and over;
  • cannabis-friendly lodgings, including two cannabis-friendly (and clothing-optional) hot springs resorts and a colorful mountain hotel with a vape-friendly cabin and smoke-friendly grounds;
  • and cannabis-fueled stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park.

Tokechella’s a pot, pot, pot, pot world for sure.

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Medicinal-to-Recreational Pot Transition Tangled Up in Bureaucracy and Crossed Fingers

BY ED MURRIETA

The transition from medicinal cannabis to adult-use recreational cannabis in California is rife with bureaucracy. I met today with a man who prepared the application packages for two Sacramento dispensaries that hope to begin recreational sales on Jan. 1.

Here are the steps in the transition as my dispensary source laid them out:

  • Submit application with City of Sacramento to sell adult-use cannabis.
  • Obtain a letter of authorization from the city affirming currently permitted medicinal cannabis dispensary has paid its taxes and passed  audits.
  • Submit a Neighborhood Responsibility Plan.
  • File application and receive approval for minor modification of conditional use permit (eg: transition from medicinal to recreational) with city Planning Department.
  • Apply for and receive business operating permit.
  • Apply for temporary operating license from the state.
  • Continue to apply for permanent annual state license.

My source said that as of noon today, one of his dispensaries has checked off all but the last two on the list and the other dispensary is trailing the first by a day in the process. He said the first business license will be in hand ASAP and applications for state permits will filed as the business licenses for each dispensary is obtained.

The state will review the applications and verify the dispensaries’ operating status with the city before approving licenses.

My source said he hopes his two dispensaries — two of the best-run shops in Sacramento, one accounting for 25 percent of total amount of money generated by the city’s 4 percent dispensary tax — will be open for recreational sales at 9 a.m. Jan. 1.

The City of Sacramento is closed for business Friday, Monday and next Friday. That leaves tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for dispensaries to complete all the necessary steps and get approved to legally sell recreational cannabis on the first day of the new year — the beginning of a new era in California cannabis.

The First Cannabis Lounge of the Legal Era in America Will Be in San Francisco

‘We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,’ S.F. cannabis czar says.

san-francisco

BY ED MURRIETA

While Denver, Las Vegas and Massachusetts are racing to claim the honor of being the first place in America to host a legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge, eight San Francisco medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges are poised to give San Francisco claim to being the home of the first  legal, adult-use cannabis consumption lounge in America come 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2018 — the first day of the new legal era in which the city’s currently permitted medicinal social lounges can serve the recreational market.

Anyone wanting to be the first cannabis lounge in America has until 8:59 a.m. PST on the first Saturday  of January.  You’ll be competing with the Apple store of cannabis lounges, a Burning Man-inspired lounge that feels like a steampunk sex club and the newest most decadent lounge in town, which I just had the honor of helping to name the best cannabis lounge in the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState Awards.

“We have eight existing lounges in the City, and they will be able to continue operating in 2018,” San Francisco’s Office of Cannabis director Nicole Elliott told me in an email this afternoon.

California has not yet created a licensing scheme for cannabis lounges, nor does the state expressly prohibit cannabis lounges.  Absent state prohibition, local governments like San Francisco, Denver and Las Vegas can approve cannabis lounges.  San Francisco’s eight existing medicinal cannabis dispensary lounges — along with one that was shuttered by the federal government in 2011 and is preparing to re-open near Twitter headquarters — will be allowed to operate under city regulations they’ve operated under over the past decade.  Dispensaries that apply for new licenses in 2018 will be subject to stricter ventilation and  hermetically sealed smoking room requirements.

California pot czar Lori Ajax told regulators in Sacramento last week that when the state licenses cannabis lounges some time next year, lounge licenses will be tied to dispensary permits. There’ll be no stand-alone pot cafes in California.

San Francisco is the de facto model for pot lounges and social cannabis consumption in America.

Three of San Francisco’s leading dispensary lounges — Barbary Coast, Urban Pharm and Sparc — told they’re pursuing the state permit that’ll allow them to transition to the adult-use market. I’m checking with the other five dispensaries regarding their plans.

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Urban Pharm

Sparc

Sparc

Barbary Coast

Barbary Coast

 

Here’s a tour of San Francisco cannabis lounges  I wrote last year.Here’s one San Francisco pot lounge story I wrote for the Denver Post’s The Cannabist in 2015. Here’s another.

Which San Francisco pot lounge do you want to visit when the first recreational pot lounge(s) opens in America on Jan. 6, 2018?

San Francisco vs. Los Angeles: How California’s Top Rival Cities Stack Up on Cannabis

First it was sports, food and culture. Now it’s pot.

BY ED MURRIETA

Charticle? Listicle? Intro graf about the San Francisco-Los Angeles rivalry TK. Blurb blurb blurbity blurb. #Skunkworks.

Toldja! Specialty Food Association and Fancy Food Show Embrace Cannabis Cuisine

Pot-infused foods are No. 8 on Big Foodie’s top 10 food-trend predictions for 2018. Whole Foods edibles ahoy?

BY ED MURRIETA

On Oct. 17, I asked the Specialty Food Association if cannabis edibles will be featured at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco Jan. 21-23.

I did not receive an answer.

Until today, when I located a press release the Specialty Food Association issued Nov. 15.

Cannabis cuisine is No. 8 on the association’s Trendspotter Panel’s top 10 food-trend predictions for 2018 and will be discussed at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

“Cannabis cuisine. As more states legalize recreational marijuana, the varieties of pot-enhanced food and beverage will increase. Look out for continued interest and acceptance in a host of snacks, treats, and beverages with a little something extra.*”

“*The Specialty Food Association recognizes that Federal law prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, but its sale and use is declared legal under some state laws. In recognizing cannabis as a food trend, the SFA in no way endorses or encourages activities which are in violation of state or Federal law.”

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How to Make Any Cookbook a Cannabis Cookbook

Open mainstream cookbook. Pick a recipe. Add cannabis. 


BY ED MURRIETA

It happens most holiday gift-giving seasons: You give your mother your wish list. Instead of the Schwinn you want, she gives you a Huffy.

What do you do if you want a cannabis cookbook and someone gives you a regular cookbook?

Turn lemons into lemonade and turn almost any sober cookbook into a canna-cookbook.

Here are five new and popular mainstream cookbooks: “Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook, ” “Smitten Kitchen Every Day, “Modernist Bread,” “Dinner in an Instant” and “BraveTart.”

Despite many of their stoner-friendly recipes — Pink Spaghetti and brownies, for Shiva’s sake — none of the hot-selling titles have anything to do with pot.

Until now.
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The Regs: Edibles’ Size and Potency Shrink

What’s happening with high-potency edibles?
Are they shoving micro-dosing down our throats? 

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Shrinkage of edibles’ potency and portion size top The Regs:.

What’s happening with high-potency edibles?

— Sammy Quintana, Capitola

Are they shoving micro-dosing down our throats? 

— Barb Tandy, Berkeley

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The Regs: How to Save Bongloads on Cannabis Taxes and Carry a Half Pound of Pot

Is there some kind of tax break
for medicinal cannabis consumers? 

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Once again, taxes top The Regs, this time in the context of a Medical Marijuana Identification Card that can save registered medicinal cannabis consumers bongloads of money in new taxes and allow you to carry eight times the amount of adult-use pot.

I’m a medicinal cannabis user. I heard about an official pot card that lets me avoid paying taxes. Is there some kind of tax break for medicinal cannabis consumers? 

— Randy Hollis, El Cerrito

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The Regs: Wild Wacky Tobaccy Taxes Explained in New Ask-and-Answer Column

What’s the deal with sky-high taxes
were going to pay on Californy wacky tobaccy?

638253596BY ED MURRIETA

Taxes top The Regs’ inaugural you-ask-the-questions-we-dig-up-the-answers column about California’s new cannabis regulations.

“What’s the deal with sky-high taxes we’re going to pay on Californy wacky tobaccy?

— Bobbi Zimmerman, San Francisco

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Banned in California But Legal in Your Kitchen

Here’s how to DIY cannabis gummies, 1,000-mg brownies and other newly illicit edibles at home.

BY ED MURRIETA

Just gotta have pot gummy bears?

How about canna-butter?

Infused ice cream?

Boozy tincture?

Soda pop and energy shots containing caffeine?

Craving 1,000-mg brownies?

Forget about ‘em. Come Jan. 1, they’ll all be illegal in California medicinal dispensaries and adult-use pot shops under historic laws governing how the botanical herb is cultivated, manufactured, sold and consumed  in the Golden State.

This story will be about six banned edibles you can make legally at home.

Local Cannabis Sales Taxes Are All Over the Map in California

Get ready to pay wacky rates on wacky tobaccy
—  the largest levies in the legalized land.

 

BY ED MURRIETA

Starting Jan. 1 (or more likely Jan. 2 given dispensaries’ holiday closures, and even later for most recreational shops given local lawmakers’ plodding pace), levies on California cannabis will be the highest in the legalized world. They’ll include:

  • state excise tax (15 percent)
  • state cultivation tax ($9.25 per ounce of cannabis flowers, $2.75 per ounce of leaves)
  • state sales tax (7.25 percent)
  • local sales tax (ranging from 7.25 percent to 10.25 percent depending on city and county rates).

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Huge Tax Savings, Higher Weight Limit in Cards for Some California Medical Cannabis Consumers

Will exemption from the largest levies in the legalized world and a half-pound stash allowance popularize obscure government IDs?

BY ED MURRIETA

Want to avoid paying sky-high taxes on California cannabis?

Got a qualifying condition to use the botanical herb medicinally?

Need to carry a half pound of pot?

Get a California Medical Marijuana Identification Card.

California’s historic cannabis taxes, announced last week with other final regulations governing cannabis from cultivation to sales, increase the currency of an obscure, voluntary government program that could save you bongloads of money and provide you legal protection to possess eight times the recreational limit.  

Come January and the start of California’s merged medical and adult-use markets, medical cannabis consumers can still use printed-on-paper recommendations and made-in-office plastic authorization cards from doctors to shop at dispensaries. Like other adults, medical cannabis consumers can shop at recreational pot stores when they open.

But you’ll need a county-issued issued card linked to a state database if you want to partake of the perks available only to official card-carrying medical cannabis consumers:

Exemption from paying the largest state levies in the legalized world and the legal protection to possess up to 8 ounces of pot, 7 ounces more than recreational users are allowed to carry.

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Jeremiah Tower, Pot-Cuisine Pioneer (and America’s Original Celebrity Chef)

The progenitor of today’s love affair with food sassed his sultry soup with cannabis stems and seeds in the ‘60s, demonstrating an understanding of ingredients and effects.

BY ED MURRIETA

Jeremiah Tower, America’s first and long-lost celebrity chef, is a cannabis-cuisine pioneer.

But you won’t learn that from watching “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent,” the fawning documentary film about the life, times, milestones and mysteries of the patrician progenitor of California’s 1970s culinary awakening who reigned over the rebirth of American gastronomy at the peak of the greed-is-good 1980s and retreated from the spotlight before the new millennium.

Raised abroad by wealthy absentee parents and weaned in cruise ships, hotels and boarding schools, Tower enthralled the Bay Area’s foodie elite and social cream with his impeccable palate, worldly glamour and handsome appetites for sex, cocaine and champagne, first at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and then at Stars in San Francisco. Lacking formal culinary training but brimming with brio, Tower splashed fresh, local ingredients with classic elan and dramatic sass. He burst from the kitchen into the dining room, popularizing the American brasserie and charming Americans into a love affair with food.

While America’s foodie cognoscenti — Martha Stewart, Ruth Reichl, Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain — gush about Tower’s theatric rise and fall, his enigmatic exile and his enduring importance in the culinary pantheon, “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” contains nary a mention of the pre-fame cannabis cuisine Tower cooked to entertain friends and stick it to The Man at Harvard University in the 1960s, which Tower himself addressed in his 2004 memoir, “California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution.”

Reviews upon the book’s publication focused largely on Tower’s influence on California Cuisine and American regional cooking; his tempestuous relationship with Alice Waters, Tower’s former boss, lover and rival; and the personal and professional burnout that sent Tower into self-imposed exile in Mexico two decades ago.

But those reviews overlooked Tower’s contribution to cannabis cuisine: an infused consomme whose preparation and serving demonstrated the chef’s respect of his ingredients, including both their preparation and effects, and care for the people who enjoy his food.

Not only did Tower lay out the technique of heat-activating non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC prior to steeping cannabis in fatty chicken stock (a vital step neglected by many, even Batali, who botched pot brownies last year), Tower deliberately front-loaded his infamous 1969 cannabis menu with an infused course whose effects kicked in as dessert was served, enhancing the enjoyment of the meal without debilitating diners.

And Tower did it with stems and seeds in an era before fancy full-flower extracts, fulfilling a chef’s highest calling: turning lowly ingredients into haute creations.

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Whole-Plant Cannabis Oils and On-Demand Vape Pen Are a Perfect Pairing

Constance Therapeutics’ Patent-Pending Extracts
Meet Jupiter Research’s Elegant Fusion
of Science and Design

BY ED MURRIETA

Two companies whose highly regarded products previously have not been sold directly to consumers through medicinal cannabis dispensaries or delivery services are now partnered and bringing patent-pending, whole-plant cannabis oil extracts and cutting-edge vapor-on-demand pen and cartridge technologies to the consumer market throughout California.

Constance Therapeuticsfull-spectrum cannabis oil extracts previously have been available to qualified medicinal cannabis patients directly from the company and only to patients enrolled in Constance Therapeutics’ protocols and patient-support program.

Jupiter Research’s ceramic-core CCELL vaporizer pen, which features tamper-proof magnetic cartridges, breath-activated instant drawing, timed-signaled dosing, long-life battery and built-in mini-USB charger, previously have not been available in Northern California.

Now, in a partnership between two leaders in their respective sectors, Constance Therapeutics’ cannabis oil extracts are available in proprietary cartridges that magnetically attach to Jupiter Research’s vapor pens .5-gram and 1-gram units of five different blends, including sativa-dominant, indica-dominant and hybrid strains, plus strains rich in the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.

Constance Therapeutics’ cannabis oil extracts (priced $70-$132) and a Constance Therapeutics-branded version of Jupiter’s vape pen ($40) are now available in San Francisco at Octavia Wellness, a delivery service specializing in cannabis care for seniors and the first of Constance Therapeutics’ new distribution partners.

I recently evaluated Constance Therapeutics’ patent-pending, full-spectrum cannabis oil extracts and Jupiter Research’s Liquid 9 cartridges and ceramic-core CCELL vaporizer pen. Here’s my review:
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Buzzy Headlines Say Las Vegas Is the New Amsterdam

Is it?

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29 Places to Stay in Las Vegas Other Than Casino Hotels That Hate Pot

BY ED MURRIETA

Nevada gaming officials unanimously agree that casino licensees should be discouraged from hosting cannabis-related trade shows or conferences in casino convention spaces and ballrooms. I recommend cannabis tourists traveling to Las Vegas for its legal recreational pot avoid casino hotels at all costs. Here are 29 hotels and resorts in Las Vegas that aren’t affiliated with casinos.  Continue reading

I’m Kind of Obsessed with Cannabis Travel and Leisure

BY ED MURRIETA

Pot Appetit’s archive of stories tagged travel is swelling with finished pieces and prototypes. I’ve been going on about cannabis travel and leisure since I first visited Amsterdam in 1995. In fact, pretty much every trip or vacation I’ve taken domestically and internationally has been about pot — where to get it or how to get it there, where to smoke it and where to find locals who share my interest in their local botanical drug.

Here’s a TV segment I appeared in seven years ago when hopes were high for recreational pot legalization in California:


 

About that time, I published my first cannabis travel and leisure story in Ngaio Bealum’s West Coast Cannabis Magazine.

West Coast Weed Map

Cannabis is legal, decriminalized and available the length of North America’s West Coast — from Barrow, Alaska, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I propose an annotated map highlighting the regulations, reasons and ways to road-tripping West Coast weed.


10 Popular Las Vegas Activities Enhanced by Pot

How to incorporate legal recreational cannabis into the most popular Las Vegas activities — from hiking in Red Rock Canyon to rolling high above The Strip to shooting big guns and racing fast cars.

BY ED MURRIETA

The following activities are from Trip Advisor’s Top-10 Things to Do in Las Vegas. My intention is to annotate with Pro Tips on working weed into the fun.

 

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Sin City vs. the Marijuana Mirage

Las Vegas cannabis tourism is a roll of the dice
two months into recreational pot legalization

BY ED MURRIETA

In the struggle for cultural commercialization and mainstream acceptance of cannabis, Sin City straddles miracle and mirage.

In less than three years since Nevada voters authorized medical cannabis, this oasis of indulgence has blossomed into a vertically integrated capital of cultivation, processing, manufacturing and retailing packaged for the masses amid glitz, glam and government regulations as keenly choreographed as Cirque du Soleil.

Thanks to voter approval in November and fast-tracked retail sales that began July 1, weed’s now legal for adult recreational use in Nevada, joining gambling and prostitution on the list of activities adults can enjoy in the Silver State but go to jail for elsewhere.

But is the Nevada pot experience attainable in toto? Is Las Vegas ready for its pot prime time?

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Burner Box welcomes pot connoisseurs to the Playa

Cannabis essentials kit celebrating Burning Man experience on sale Friday in Nevada as Burners head to bacchanal of art and alternative cultures.

Photo by DopeFoto

Photo by DopeFoto

BY ED MURRIETA

Whether this is your first time or your 31st time attending Burning Man, you’ll be the envy of every pot-friendly theme camp when you open a Burner Box, a connoisseur-grade survival kit of cannabis products, tools and tips curated for the Playa-going experience.

Never mind that possession and use of cannabis and drug paraphernalia  are illegal on the federally managed Black Rock Desert.

Available starting Friday, limited-edition Burner Boxes are a collaboration between Blüm, a cannabis chain store with outlets in Las Vegas and Reno, and Vegas Weekend Box, a Sin City startup that curates and markets Nevada’s best-selling cannabis products packaged in consumer-friendly style for tourists.

Like the big-ticket curated theme-camp experiences that brought Silicon Valley bro-tech vibes to the annual bacchanal of art and alternative cultures in the past decade, Burner Boxes aren’t cheap — $299 — but they are loaded with cannabis oil, edibles, bud and joints from leading Nevada producers, along with a state-of-the-art portable vaporizer and a high-end mini-torch that’ll withstand desert windstorms.

Burner Boxes have no affiliation with the radically anti-commercial Burning Man gathering that runs Sunday through Sept. 4 125 miles north of Reno, save for some employees and investors of both Blüm and Vegas Weekend Box being Burners themselves.

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Hops + Pot and Terpenes + Beer

Great tastes that taste great together meet in collaborations between producers of artisan intoxicants.

BY ED MURRIETA

The message behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ classic Seventies slapstick TV commercials —“You got peanut butter on my chocolate. You got chocolate in my peanut butter. Two great tastes that taste great together.” — is being rebooted for the cannabis era in two collaborations between two California producers of artisan intoxicants: AbsoluteXtracts and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

One collaboration puts Lagunitas’ hops into AbsoluteXtracts’ vape pen cannabis oil cartridges. The other puts AbsoluteXtracts cannabis terpenes into Lagunitas ale.

Hops and cannabis are botanical cousins, containing similar aromas and flavors.

There’s no THC in the hopped-up beer collaboration — just the complementary flavors and aromas of Blue Dream and Girl Scout cookies cannabis strains captured in the terpenes. And there’s no alcohol in the vape oil — just piney, lemony, citrusy flavors of seven different hops strains.

Both collaborations are called “SuperCritical” after the CO2 extraction process AbsoluteXtracts uses to isolate and preserve cannabis and hops terpenes.

Lagunitas sent me a growler of beer. I’m awaiting the vape cartridge. I’ll sit down soon with a pot-loving craft brewer and report our findings.

Cultivate Your Ultimate Reno-Tahoe Cannabis Weekend

BY ED MURRIETA

RENO — The Biggest Little City in the World is dwarfed only by Las Vegas in Nevada’s newest bonanza — the greenrush of recreational cannabis and drug tourists’ dollars.

Thanks to Reno’s scale, getting a taste of Nevada’s newly legal recreational cannabis is a lot easier here than it is in sprawling Las Vegas, and Reno is a good place to begin exploring Nevada cannabis as growers, processors and edibles makers from Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Incline Village supply Las Vegas dispensaries. You can even buy a tourist-oriented welcome basket of Nevada cannabis products, marketed as the Vegas Weekend Box in both Las Vegas and Reno.

Whether you’re traveling to the Reno-Tahoe region to gamble, ski, see shows, engage prostitutes, make a pit stop en route to or from Burning Man, or solely to purchase pot legally, making cannabis part of your next visit here is easy — especially if you can swear off odiferous buds and commit to enjoying locally made edibles, tinctures and vape pens.

Arrive by automobile, bus or train and begin your Reno-Tahoe cannabis trip a short walk away from Reno’s “Biggest Little City” sign at Mynt, downtown Reno’s only cannabis store and creator/purveyor of Kynd, the locally produced, widely available line of flowers, edibles and concentrates.

Or reach Reno via Lake Tahoe, where recreational cannabis at Incline Village’s tony NuLeaf dispensary is the North Shore’s buzziest attraction since The Ponderosa Ranch “Bonanza” TV Western theme park invigorated the historic logging hamlet in the Sixties.

Along the way, behold breath-taking lake and mountain scenery, drink craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famous blue water and eat a cut above buffets.   

Bring your medical cannabis authorization from any legal medical cannabis state and avoid paying Nevada’s 10 percent excise tax.

California residents with medical cannabis recommendations will hit the pot-tourist jackpot a mile from the California-Nevada state line in South Lake Tahoe, where dispensary and grower Tahoe Wellness Cooperative operates a rare tourist necessity: a cannabis consumption lounge, in this case endorsed and sanctioned by city leaders expressly to keep people from smoking pot on South Lake Tahoe’s shore and streets.

South Lake Tahoe is also home to what the Reno-Tahoe region (and Las Vegas) needs to cultivate in higher volume — a bud, bed and breakfast run by an innkeeper who provides locally grown cannabis and the greenlight to smoke it legally, no matter where you come from.

Can’t bear the thought of foregoing joints, dabs and bong hits while you’re visiting Reno or the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe? Forget about staying at hotels. Instead, reserve a 420-friendly gypsy camping wagon, custom-made by a Burning Man artisan and easily towed or delivered to campgrounds or private properties in the Reno-Tahoe area.

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Uncork your inner pothead in Northern California wine country

Turn your next vineyard vacation into your Ultimate Sonoma Cannabis Weekend. 

BY ED MURRIETA

Sonoma County has everything you need for a fun and educational cannabis weekend. You’ve toured wine tasting rooms and vineyards. Now tour pot farms, extraction facilities and dispensaries in a region that’s become a hub of legal cannabis business activity in Northern California. Enjoy breathtaking natural beauty and agriculture from valley to coast. Stay in private vacation homes that welcome cannabis smokers — and in some cases even provide a gift of free cannabis to all adult guests from any state or nation. Savor world-class food, wine and craft beer. Discover heightened experiences of taste, smell and wonder inspired by cannabis, the region’s other intoxicating crop. Thanks to some cannabis-friendly lodgings and California’s generous recreational cannabis gifting law, you don’t need to be a California resident or medical cannabis patient to get a taste of Weed Country in Wine Country today.

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Check into the gift of pot on your pillow

California tourist rentals give guests recreational cannabis — no doctor’s note or state residency required.

Photo courtesy The Om House

BY ED MURRIETA

Full-on legalization that will allow tourists from other states and other countries to purchase California cannabis from regulated retail stores is at least four months away.

But a provision in the Golden State’s recreational cannabis law provides a legal path to pot right now.

It’s called gifting, and since Prop. 64 took effect upon voter approval in November 2016 it’s been a way that cannabis-friendly tourist rentals — from an upscale cannabis resort on a historic ranch in the fabled Emerald Triangle to a modest apartment in a workaday Southern California neighborhood to a vegan bud, bed and breakfast in Lake Tahoe — can legally provide all of their adult guests tastes of local cannabis, similar to the way bottles of wine and wedges of cheese welcome guests in boutique hotels and inns across America.

“We don’t sell cannabis,” said Lisa Donnelly, proprietor of The Red Barn House guesthouse in remote Shasta County, 220 miles north of San Francisco. “But I can give guests a couple of grams from my own personal what-I’ve-got.”

Whether you’re a California resident who lacks a doctor’s recommendation to use state-legal medical cannabis, whether you live in any of America’s 49 other states or whether you’re visiting from any country in the world, it’s legal in California for one adult to gift another adult up to 1 ounce of cannabis.

But don’t expect that kind of weight awaiting you at California’s cannabis-gifting vacation rentals.

In most cases, expect gifts closer to one Michael Mischer filled chocolate, not a boxed assortment of Poco Dolce confections.

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Sin City vs. the Marijuana Mirage

Las Vegas Cannabis Tourism Is a Roll of the Dice
Just Two Months into Recreational Legalization

Cultivate Your Ultimate Las Vegas Pot Weekend
— But Don’t Bet on Toking on The Strip

BY ED MURRIETA
As far as legal pot goes, Las Vegas straddles miracle and mirage.

In less than three years since Nevada voters authorized medical cannabis, Sin City has blossomed into a vertically integrated capital of cultivation, processing, manufacturing and retailing packaged for the masses amid glitz, glam and government regulations as keenly choreographed as Cirque du Soleil.

Thanks to voter approval in November and fast-tracked retail sales that began July 1, weed’s now legal for adult recreational use in Nevada, joining gambling and prostitution on the list of activities adults can enjoy in the Silver State but go to jail for elsewhere.

But is Nevada’s newest formerly illicit indulgence attainable in toto?

You can buy pot on The Strip — from a boutique whose name sounds like a showgirl’s: Essence. But odds are overwhelmingly stacked against any pipe dreams of toking up at gaming tables, where cigarettes are legal, or in rooms and suites or poolside at major casino-hotels.

Cannabis no longer carries the threat of 20 years in state prison for possession or life behind bars for sales. But openly enjoying pot still seems shady, fueled by casinos’ fealty to federal regulators who mandate opposition to cannabis, which, after all, is legal only at the state level in Nevada, one of eight American states that embrace the controversial botanical drug.

You can’t legally smoke a joint, burn a bowl, hit a bong, vape a pen, do a dab or consume an edible anywhere in Nevada except in private residences and private buildings with owners’ permission, never mind the state’s live-and-let-live libertarian leanings.

Of course, only you and your budtender know if the gummy candies you’re gobbling contain cannabis, and people do indeed pass off their vape pens for e-cigarettes in some hotels. But smoke a joint on The Strip or in hotels and casinos and face a $600 ticket, a pricey room-cleaning fee or outright ejection.

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