Category: Culture

California Tourist Rentals Give Guests Free Pot — No Doctor’s Note or Residency Required

I just filed a Reno-Tahoe cannabis travel report. One of the interesting lodging options is a bed, bud and breakfast in South Lake Tahoe that gives its guests cannabis.

It’s legal to gift cannabis in California. You don’t need a doctor’s note and don’t need to be a California resident to receive up to an ounce of pot from another adult without money changing hands.

International tourists and Americans from 49 other states can legally enjoy California cannabis — four months before full-on legalization permits them to actually purchase it from stores that will be licensed beginning in January 2018.

You’ll find many cannabis-friendly lodgings on websites like Airbnb.com and BudAndBreakfast.com whose hosts let you smoke pot either inside or outside.

But there’s only about a dozen online listings in California for private lodging whose hosts provide cannabis — whether you’re an authorized California medical cannabis patient, an insurance actuary from Cleveland who’s never smoked or a touring Eurotrash DJ who can’t be bothered to score weed in every new city.

How many alternative rentals in California gift their guests greenbud? Here’s what I’ve found so far.

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Cannabis Firm Plots Epcot of Pot

Arizona’s American Green purchases Southern California ghost town for $5 million, intends to develop a cannabis tourism destination in the Mojave Desert.

BY ED MURRIETA

A publicly traded cannabis company has purchased an Old West ghost town in Southern California for $5 million and plans to turn the historic Mojave Desert hamlet into a cannabis tourism destination and cannabis production hub that taps the 80-acre town’s ancient underground lake and modern solar power.

Nipton, located 10 miles off the main highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, is a 112-year-old former mining town of approximately 20 residents in unincorporated San Bernardino County, about 3 hours east of Los Angeles and 1 hour south Las Vegas, a mile and a half from the California-Nevada border.

The buyer, American Green Inc. of Phoenix, hopes to develop what it’s likening to Disney on cannabis — the Epcot Center of Pot — offering cannabis-friendly tourist attractions, manufacturing and retail outposts, culinary events, bed-and-breakfast lodging, RV camping, artist-in-residence programs and mineral baths spiked with therapeutic cannabis.

Stephen Shearin, general manager of American Green’s Nipton project, expects to host Nipton’s first cannabis tourists in November.

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Payton Curry Launching S.F. Pop-Up Restaurant as Chefs Shuffle Cannabis Projects

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Payton Curry

BY ED MURRIETA

The culinary industry is a small world. It gets even smaller when you bore into the cannabis cuisine industry.

Shortly after my profiles of cannabis cuisine superstars published on the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState.com. I learned that one of the profiled chefs who was scheduled to cook last week at the NorCal Cannacuisine Gala had pulled out and was replaced by another chef I’d profiled.

Today I learned that another one of the chefs I profiled has replaced another one of the chefs I profiled, taking over a commercial kitchen and events space in San Francisco that was mentioned in my June 13 story.

The plot thickens like a good roux as Payton Curry’s plans for that kitchen and dining room on Folsom Street in the city’s pot-dense South of Market district include private cannabis-infused brunch and dinner events that give off a distinct waft of a pop-up test run for a full-fledged cannabis restaurant and impart notes of a community center for cannabis food businesses.

Curry’s concept is vegetable-forward, focused on low-dose THC infusions, plus use wellness-inducing but non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD and THCA.

Curry, who cheffed in Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco and St. Helena, called me today from Las Vegas, where he’s preparing to roll out Flourish, the edibles brand he launched last year in Arizona and this spring in California.

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Smoking Or No-Smoking? What’s the Proper Pot-and-Food Pairing?

BY ED MURRIETA

What’s the proper way to pair cannabis and food?

In the food, infusing recipes with butter or oil prepared with cannabis for diners to experience and absorb as they eat?

Or perhaps with the food, introducing cannabis to diners’ senses of taste and smell in smoked form — a joint, a pipe, a bong delivering flavors, aromas and intoxicating elements that heighten the pleasure of food?

In reporting and compiling the profiles of 11 well-respected chefs working in the cannabis-food scene for this culinary opus on the San Francisco Chronicle’s new Green State website, I discovered there’s a disagreement among high-profile chefs pushing cannabis cuisine to haute heights.

One side says, “No Smoking.”

One side says, “Smoke — Taste the Plant with Your Food.”

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George Harrison, Hippies, the Haight and the Horrible Memories of a Dead Beatle

Beatle George Harrison playing guitar for hippies on Hippie Hill, Aug. 8, 1967.

George Harrison, grooviest of the Beatles, playing guitar for hippies in San Francisco, Aug. 8, 1967.

BY ED MURRIETA

The band member known as The Quiet Beatle had his loud-and-clear say about hippies and the Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love.

As rock ‘n’ roll chronicler Ben Fong-Torres detailed the story 34 years later, George Harrison arrived in San Francisco on Aug. 8, 1967, telling reporters he was curious about the hippie phenomenon.

Based on Harrison’s assessment of the scene, the Beatle wasn’t amused.

Harrison is quoted in the 1989 biography “Dark Horse” saying he thought the Haight “would be something like King’s Road (in London), only more. Somehow I expected them to all own their own little shops. I expected them all to be nice and clean and friendly and happy.”

Instead, after touring the hippie ‘hood and encountering  a “wild band of jeering hippies” during an impromptu song sesh on nearby Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, Harrison declared hippies to be “hideous, spotty little teenagers.”

In “The Beatles Anthology,” a mini-series produced in 2000, Harrison said, “I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene.”

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My High Times Scoop — My Journalism Career First

BY ED MURRIETA

I’ve been doing journalism, and smoking pot, since 1985. Today, I had my first scoop — exclusively reporting the acquisition of High Times magazine, the bible of stoner culture.

Here’s my story, as reported in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Wake and Bake: Americans Love Marijuana in the Morning


BY ED MURRIETA

According to a recent study on drug use worldwide, Americans are the leading wake-and-bakers, with 21.9 percent of U.S. cannabis consumers smoking pot during the first hour of their day after waking up.

Here’s a song I wrote honoring the wake-and-bake tradition:

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‘Pot POW’ Eddy Lepp in His Own Words

The prisoner of America’s War on Drugs discusses his incarceration for cultivation, legalization, William Randolph Hearst’s conspiracy against hemp, California’s “unconstitutional” cannabis regulations, god, and the High Times lifetime achievement award he’ll receive next month, the day after his house arrest ends.

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BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO — For eight and a half years, Eddy Lepp was America’s most celebrated cannabis convict, serving federal time, including a stint in the U.S. government’s most notorious penitentiary, for growing more than 40,000 plants on a 20-acre operation that observers said resembled a Christmas tree farm.

Lepp was released from prison in Florence, Colo., on Dec. 9 and returned that day to Northern California, one month after cannabis was legalized in the Golden State.

Today, Lepp, at age 65, is an outspoken survivor of America’s ongoing War on Drugs, which began while Lepp was serving as a soldier in an Army intelligence unit during the Vietnam War and which snared him at his Lake County farm in 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

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411 on San Francisco Cops’ ‘420 Hot-Line’ for non-911 4/20 Nuisance Complaints



BY ED MURRIETA

As I reported in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Green State and earlier on Pot Appetit, the San Francisco Police Department’s Park Station will staff a special hotline for quality-of-life nuisance complaints in the neighborhoods bordering the section of Golden Gate Park where an annual free-flowing pot party pop-ups on Thursday.

In San Francisco, If You Can’t Beat 4/20, Regulate 4/20

Famously Underground Pot Party Goes Legit,
Gets Permits,  Regulations, Food Trucks

BY ED MURRIETA

There’s no denying people like pot. There’s no doubt pot attracts tourists and taxes. There’s no way politicians ignore money.

That calculus is benefiting San Francisco’s popular and roguish  4/20 pot celebration, highlighted by the city’s Recreation and Park Department issuing permits for much-needed amenities like more porta-potties, EMTs and ambulances and trash clean-up.

While permits are for services and not approval for the actual event itself, the permits issued March 28 will save 4/20’s bacon — conferring legitimacy, imposing regulations and attracting sponsors to underwrite the amorphous April 20 gathering that’s expected to draw 15,000 or more cannabis enthusiasts for a giant smoke sesh in Golden Gate Park on Thursday.

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News from the Drug War, a Cannabis Poem for National Poetry Month

BY ED MURRIETA

April is officially National Poetry Month. Every day is unofficially national cannabis day. In that spirit, here’s one of my favorite cannabis poems, written by Sacramento poet and cannabis enthusiast Gene Black, who died in 1993.
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Smoke Your Hearts in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Got a bud-loving bae who insists on pot as a prelude?

She’s right.

“When you have a smoke sesh with someone, it’s a great bonding experience,” says passionately pro-pot dating expert Molly Peckler.

Whether you’re looking for your cannabis love connection or just a hopped-up hookup in San Francisco’s sexiest dispensary lounges this Valentine’s Day,  you’ll surely take precautions, and especially in public smoke-sesh situations. Foremost because the valid California medical cannabis recommendation you need to carry to keep things legal here protects you like a prophylactic pot passport.

But more importantly because cannabis compatibility is a prerequisite for successful relationships under the influence. Your taste for old-school joints and his thing for high-tech vape pens could snuff out what might otherwise be true love.

You’ll know other deal breakers — like when he over-compensates with elaborate bongs, or when she dumps the contents of the Volcano chamber when the weed contains more good hits.

Of course, you’ll recognize your stoner soul mates should you meet cute over cannabis. If so, may the cherries on your doobies burn hot and long.

Here, then, are seven places where you can blaze, dab or vape your Valentine’s Day hearts content in  the pot-lovingest smoke-sesh city by the bay.

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7 from ’67: 50 Years Ago in Pot

BY ED MURRIETA

Two weeks after President Lyndon Johnson told Life Magazine that marijuana use was a problem in the U.S. Coast Guard, Newsweek followed with its July 24, 1967 report on America’s pot problem. By summer 1967, pot was blossoming in its pubescent prime, reflected increasingly, if not downright presciently, in magazines, music, literature and television. Here are seven media and pop culture cannabis moments from 1967:

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Mainstream Coffee Brand Jolts Cannabis Marketing

Oakland edibles startup and San Francisco micro-roaster brew cannabis industry’s first Intel Inside moment.

BY ED MURRIETA

To aficionados who enjoy a caffeine buzz with their marijuana buzz, coffee and cannabis go together like cream and sugar and Cheech and Chong rolled into one energy-inducing, mind-altering jolt.

After decades of counterculture popularity, the classic java-and-a-joint combo, aka the Hippie Highball, has been re-booted in the modern age of legal weed.

Cannabis-infused single-brew coffee pods entered California’s medical cannabis edibles marketplace in 2015 but require K-Cup-style brewing machines and remain a novelty.

The more accessible 2017 pairing combines three red-hot trends — cold-brewed coffee, artisan cannabis concentrate and low-dose edibles — into a singularly robust concept that boasts the added kick of being the first example of a mainstream company lending its brand to a cannabis product.

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Pet Sounds Pot-Pairing Playlist

BY ED MURRIETA

A calliope of insecurity,  introspection, hope, despair and delusion — the best and worst of a pot trip in 12 symphonic pop songs — “Pet Sounds” is Brian Wilson’s marijuana masterpiece.

Recorded in 1965 at a cost of $70,000, the album was fueled by $2,000 worth of pot the Beach Boys’ bandleader purchased for production.

“Pet Sounds” was released in 1966 and inspired the Beach Boys’ leading pothead rivals, The Beatles, to record their trippiest disc, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the following year.

For “Pet Sounds” 50th anniversary last year, Wilson toured and performed the original album live. The 2016 Pet Sounds shows were so popular that the 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced a second round of 50th anniversary tour dates for 2017, starting March 27 in Orlando, Fla., continuing across North America and concluding June 15 in Honolulu.

Here’s a track-by-track pot-pairing playlist for enhanced enjoyment of pop music’s ultimate pot album.

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Urban Pharm Review: Dispensary/Lounge Meets Steampunk Sex Club

BY ED MURRIETA

Since the 19th century, when robber barons’ wives insisted they spend their railroad riches in San Francisco, Sacramento Valley elites have aspired to the greater heights of the city.

Two San Francisco medical cannabis dispensaries match that migration. Cookies SF emerged from Sacramento’s Collective Efforts, which breeds and markets the hell out of Cookies strains. Urban Pharm has roots in Sacramento’s Northstar Holistic Collective, since 2010 my go-to dispensary in the state capital.

Opened in December 2015, Urban Pharm is among San Francisco’s new design-intensive gilded-age cannabis dispensaries.

Quality, selection and value of Urban Pharm’s flowers, extracts and edibles meet or beat other top pot shops in the city.

Urban Pharm outdoes them all, however, with an on-premises, open-flame consumption lounge where anything goes — smoking, dabbing, vaping, ediblizing, even stoner comic heckling and karaoke singing.

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Sip Captain Trips, Finn Town Tavern’s Jerry Garcia Hemp Seed Oil Cocktail

Editor’s Note: This cocktail is not infused with cannabis but easily could be and should be. Try a drop or two of CBD tincture to start.

BY ED MURRIETA

San Francisco’s cocktail culture meets San Francisco’s cannabis culture in a drink that honors city son/dead hippie icon Jerry Garcia.

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Marijuana Mega-Fair Emerald Cup Expected to Draw 30,000 to Wine Country

BY ED MURRIETA
Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle

Longtime marijuana event producer Tim Blake has sober advice for first-timers partaking of newly legal pot at the Emerald Cup, a cannabis county fair in Santa Rosa expected to draw 30,000 people this weekend.

“Don’t eat too many edibles,” said the event’s founder.
While a little pot can fight nausea and anxiety, eating too much can make folks queasy and uneasy. The world’s largest cannabis competition and expo will be chock full of such cannabis-infused sweets, savories and beverages Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 10-11 — so much so that the event’s host, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, has required new rules to cut down on overindulgence.

“The fairgrounds makes us give out only low-dose edibles, so nobody gets too high,” Blake said. “We can’t serve over a 10-milligram dose.”

Now in its 13th year and breaking records for entries and attendance, the state’s biggest pot celebration since the general election is enticing a bumper crop of new guests.

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Your Smoking, Dabbing, Vaping Escapes from San Francisco Holiday Shopping Madness

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Those who make a day of holiday shopping around Union Square and the Westfield San Francisco Centre — and, especially, those who accompany shoppers against their better judgment — often need a break. Medical cannabis dispensaries and lounges are plentiful in downtown San Francisco, and much of what you’ll find reflects the best of what the city has to offer.

Even though cannabis was recently legalized for use in California by adults age 21 and over, your valid doctor’s recommendation to use medical cannabis is your required  passport to holiday shopping escape at these dispensary lounges.  

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Colorado Regulators Prohibit Cannabis in Venues with Liquor Licenses

BY ED MURRIETA

Colorado regulators delivered a sobering blow to anyone hoping to enjoy a cannabis-infused dinner paired with beer or wine in Denver.

Initiative 300 was approved by 53.5 percent of Denver’s registered voters Nov. 8. It authorized a pilot program that would allow businesses –cafes,  bars, restaurants, yoga studios, laundromats, whatever — to provide customers areas in which to consume cannabis, be it eating, vaping and, in some cases, smoking.

Today,  the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue announced a new rule: Any business with a liquor license will be prohibited from seeking a cannabis permit.

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5 Top Pot Moments in San Francisco History

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Originally named Yerba Buena (translation: good herb in the language of  the Spanish settlers), San Francisco enjoys a relationship with cannabis that is as old as California history itself. Here are five moments in time when pot and San Francisco memorably collided.
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San Francisco Pot Task Force Urges Swift Actions on Licensing and Tourism

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s Cannabis State Legalization Task Force was formed in January to prepare the city for cannabis legalization. Today, one day after California voted to legalize cannabis use by adults, the task force delivered preliminary recommendations urging the city to swiftly license cannabis businesses beginning in 2018.

“Prop. 64 creates a very specific state licensing scheme from seed to sale,” said Terrance Alan, chairman of the 22-member task force. “The response needs to be local and focus on how well local jurisdictions implement those license types.”

Alan said the task force is focused on land use, public safety and tourism. Business types include cannabis farms, processing and manufacturing facilities, testing labs, kitchens and cafes.

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Read Rolling Stone, Pass the Roach Clip

BY ED MURRIETA

Rolling Stone published its first issue 49 years ago today in San Francisco.  With a pot dealer serving as the magazine’s chief copy editor it was only fitting that the magazine came with a free roach clip for early subscribers. Hand-crafted by the man who would later become Rolling Stone’s art director,  the pot paraphernalia was peddled as a must-have for Rolling Stone readers. A full-page ad claimed the gift had “one thousand and one uses around the home, in rehearsal, or for better music appreciation.” Rolling Stone Vol. 1, No. 1, by the way, featured a photo of John Lennon in costume as Private Gripweed on the set of “How I Won the War.”

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Dear Denver: Vote Yes on Social Cannabis Consumption

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — It was 8 p.m. and pitch dark when it dawned on me: I should not be smoking hashish in the rain behind the Greyhound station before my red-eye ride to Humboldt County.

Igzactly 420 was approximately three blocks away and wouldn’t close for two hours — precisely 10 minutes before my bus departed.

A seven-minute walk later, the medical cannabis dispensary and vaporizing lounge became my port in a storm, one of San Francisco’s models of public social cannabis consumption — a flaming-hot issue in states that have legalized recreational cannabis use by adults.

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