Author: Ed Murrieta (page 2 of 3)

Onsite Sales Bring Cannabis — and Scrutiny — Back to Cannabis Cup

Read it by me on Leafly.com

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Old-School Pot Practices Dying

Things cannabis consumers don’t do today but were done back in the day.

BY ED MURRIETA

Blame culture change, technology, availability of good cannabis and the rise of responsible use. Here are some old-school pot practices not in practice any more.

  • Dip Joints in Embalming Fluid or PCP
  • Chase the Dragon with a Straw Off a Pin or Off a Hot Knife
  • Smoke Stems and Seeds
  • Smoke Roaches and Pipe Scrapings
  • Pair Pot with Pills and Wine

Dosing Do-Si-Do: Indexing Intoxicants

Brands of ultra-premium joints and non-alcoholic beer spiked with THC seek to reach mainstream consumers by comparing potency of cannabis against society’s common understanding of alcohol.

Ed’s Note: Ed Murrrieta is an experienced, versatile journalist who needs full-time work.  Read him. Hire him. 

BY ED MURRIETA

On sale in Colorado and California, the nation’s two leading adult-use recreational cannabis markets, Toast’s ultra-premium, low-potency joints are dosed to mirror the equivalent potencies of bar-measured cocktails.  One joint, containing a proprietary blend of strains measuring 10 percent THC and 2:1 CBD:THC, is billed as being as intoxicating as one alcoholic drink.  

Meanwhile, the Colorado brewer who created micro-to-macro Blue Moon ale announced a line of non-alcoholic craft beer containing THC and dosed at easy-to-understand alcohol-to-cannabis intoxicant-equivalence measures — lower-potency light beer labeled with one marijuana leaf, medium-potency amber beer labeled with two marijuana leafs and higher-potency dark beer labeled with three marijuana leafs.

Both Toast and Ceria are positioning their products to be consumed responsibly and enjoyed comfortably in social settings — marketing to mainstream, upscale consumers who understand alcohol but are clueless, and possibly even concerned, about pot.

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Where California Candidates Stand on Pot

Influential electees’ views on cannabis are as diverse as the Golden State.

ED MURRIETA

As the adage goes, “So goes California, so goes America.” The Golden State’s primary election is June 5. The general election is Nov. 6.  Here’s a look at major California candidates in state and national races and where they stand on cannabis.

Cannabis Intoxicates Brewers

Craft beers infused with CBD and THC and natural aromas and flavors engineered to mimic cannabis terpenes buzz adult beverages makers.

BY ED MURRIETA

The Hemperor, New Belgium Brewing Company’s new IPA, is not the first beer brewed with hemp seeds.

Nor is it the first beer to celebrate the botanical, olfactory and gustatory similarities between hops and cannabis.

It is, however, the first hemp-infused India pale ale — an HIPA — to be distributed across the United States.

And The Hemperor, released in early April by the Colorado brewery best known for the Fat Tire brand, is certainly the first adult beverage in the legal cannabis era that’s been engineered in a laboratory to mimic the aromas and flavors of cannabis while containing no trace of the plant’s psychoactive cannabinoids.

Prohibited by the federal government from brewing with hemp flowers that would impart aromas and flavors mirrored in hops along with non-psychoactive cannabinoids like therapeutic CBD, New Belgium brews The Hemperor with hemp hearts, the meat of shelled hemp seeds, which imbue a mild, hazy nuttiness but no intoxicating effects of cannabis, hemp’s botanical sister and hops’ botanical cousin.

To mimic cannabis terpenes, New Belgium draws on other natural ingredients. In The Hemperor’s herbaceous case, natural cannabis aroma and flavor means those attributes were engineered in a laboratory to parrot pot’s polymorphic punches to noses and mouths using extracts from natural aromatics like citrus peel, grapefruit and pine sap.

The Hemperor is on tap in 49 states (Kansas bans hemp products) and will be released in six-pack bottles in late May.

I paid $4 for a 5-ounce pour of The Hemperor at Capitol Hop Shop in Sacramento on Friday, 4/20.  

The Hemperor announced itself as the bartender set the rosette glass in front of me — a waft of familiar cannabis that caught my nose and whipped my neck side to side to pick up the aroma’s source. Continue reading

Permit Denial Leaves 420 Cannabis Cup Dry, Not High

My latest on Leafly.com.

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

Cultivate Your Ultimate Las Vegas Cannabis Weekend

By me on the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState.com.

Read all of my cannabis news, culture and lifestyles journalism reports for Leafly.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, GreenState.com and other leading cannabis publications.

An Oral History of Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke

By me on Leafly.com.

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.

the_los_angeles_times_fri__sep_29__1978_

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

Screenshot of 2010 Pot Appetit Prototype via Wayback Machine.

Screenshot of 2010 Pot Appetit Prototype via Wayback Machine.

BY ED MURRIETA

When I left food journalism to cover cannabis, my original vision was to create the features section of cannabis, covering the topic the way I’d covered food, beer, wine, technology, travel and other consumer, culture and lifestyles topics for mainstream newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Here, via the Wayback Machine, is the original prototype for Pot Appetit, built in 2010 on the content management system of South Sound Eats, the food community I launched and edited after leaving my daily newspaper food writing gig at McClatchy’s Tacoma News Tribune.

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 by me on the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState. 

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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San Francisco Leads Legal Pot Lounge Sweepstakes By a Nug

One of the city’s medicinal cannabis lounges will be America’s first recreational pot lounge when adult-use cannabis sales start Saturday.

san-francisco

ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — The first pot lounge in America will not open in Denver.

The first pot lounge in America will not open in Las Vegas.

Forget about Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts, too.

The first pot lounge in America is already open in San Francisco.

On Saturday, when San Francisco medicinal cannabis dispensaries are expected to transition to the adult-use recreational market, it’ll be official.

There are eight pot lounges in California’s historically progressive cannabis capital, all currently operating inside or adjacent to dispensaries, providing the city’s medicinal cannabis consumers comfortable and safe environments to smoke, vape, dab and socialize — the holy grail of every pothead who’s ever heard of Amsterdam.

“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 said.

Permitted for more than a decade and tolerated since the earliest days of the city’s medicinal cannabis community, San Francisco dispensary lounges are models of public cannabis consumption.

Whichever dispensary/lounge receives its temporary adult-use retail sales permit from the state — all San Francisco dispensary/lounges reportedly await city permits, the first step in the permit process before permits are granted — will be the first licensed, on-premises consumption lounge in an adult-use recreational cannabis state, leaving Las Vegas, Denver, Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts all playing for second.

There’s at least one more cannabis store/lounge on the way. The Vapor Room opened in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in 2003 and was shut down by the federal government in 2012. The Vapor Room was cleared to open as a medicinal dispensary/lounge and is now under construction in a new location downtown with an eye toward the recreational market.

“The lounges are like a civic water cooler where people gather and build relationships and community,” said Lloyd Francis, a San Francisco novelist who frequented The Vapor Room on Haight Street. “I have met many close friends at San Francisco cannabis lounges.”

Cannabis lounge proposals have been pursued, with limited success and the requisite fits, stops and starts, in Las Vegas, Denver, Alaska, Maine and Massachusetts.

America, meet your first legal pot lounges.*

*Pending city and state permits.

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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.

urban-pharm-san-francisco_320x240_826a-1

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?

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

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

BY ED MURRIETA

A largely unregulated Wild West of cannabis vs, a well-regulated city-state.

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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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading

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

Read my version in the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState. 

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:
Continue reading

Buzzy Headlines Say Las Vegas Is the New Amsterdam

Is it?

las-vegas-vs-amsterdam-8 Continue reading

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.


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