Category: Culture (page 1 of 2)

Las Vegas Museums: The Artful Side of Cannabis Tourism

Immerse yourself in cannabis and Instagrammable museums and art installations. 

BY ED MURRIETA

If you’ve been to Amsterdam, you know the allure of cannabis and museums.

Whether you’ve visited the Rijkuseum, Sex, Stedelijk, Van Gogh or Hash, Marijuana and Hemp museums, consuming the botanical drug deepened appreciations of art and culture.

Simply staring stoned at Vincent Van Gogh’s mad slathering swirls illuminating fields, flowers and famine immerses hedonistic art lovers in the visual, sensory and emotional relationships among artists, drugs and creativity.

And who didn’t crave a soothing spliff after two claustrophobic minutes inside the enervating Anne Frank House?

Las Vegas is America’s Amsterdam. While Sin City lacks the Dutch capital’s open sex commerce and legendary smoking cafes, museums of all sorts bloom in the desert, offering visitors curated glimpses of  Las Vegas culture and history in venues dedicated to the Mob, neon signs, pinball and more.

Las Vegas’ newest museum, Cannabition Cannabis Museum, celebrates cannabis in the most totally modern expression of immersive art: Instagrammability.

Here are five uniquely Las Vegas museums and art exhibitions, plus recommended cannabis pairings and social-media poses.

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San Francisco’s Psychedelic Cooking Treat

Cable-access production values are a few grams shy of a ‘good thing,’ but The Hippy Gourmet has more in common with Martha’s Kitchen than Wayne’s World.

 

BY ED MURRIETA

Behind the heavy-lidded gaze, shaggy gray beard and mellow baritone of a Summer of Love dee-jay lays a classically trained French chef who wants to feed the people and feed your head. If his television cooking show, cookbooks and DVDs reap profit and popularity, that’s far out, too, man.

Bruce Brennan is The Hippy Gourmet, a Jerry Garcia-meets-James Beard bear of a man whose cable-access cooking show originates from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The show, 50-plus episodes strong, airs weekly on nine Bay Area stations and recently started in Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago and New York.

Production values lean a few grams shy of a “good thing,” but “The Hippy Gourmet” has more in common with “Martha’s Kitchen” than “Wayne’s World,” pardoning the psychedelic music, paisley graphics and occasional presence of Manny the Hippy, famous for his tripped-out tete a tetes with David Letterman.

“‘The Hippy Gourmet’ is the antithesis of most TV cooking shows,” says producer-director James Ehrlich. “Bruce is the anti-Emeril.”

“Not a lot of clip, clip, clip, action, action, bam, bam, bam,” Brennan adds in his best mellow bellow.


Published Feb. 19, 2003, San Francisco Examiner.


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Chicano’s Pot Sharpens Chicano Art

Eduardo Carrillo’s mystical surrealism became mucho mas claro when I smoked Cheech Marin.

BY ED MURRIETA

Art museums and cannabis are a match that make magic in your head.

A joint rolled from Cheech Marin’s stash helped me see the fallacy of technology mirrored in a painting. 

I’d arrived at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum to see Chicano master Eduardo Carrillo’s mystical surrealism.

In the weeks I’d waited for my delivery of Cheech’s Private Stash to coincide with the next corporate-sponsored, pay-what-you-wish third Sunday, I’d Googled Carrillo.

The first image I clicked was on the museum’s server, the painting whose name titles the exhibit, “Testament of the Spirit,” the very painting that greets visitors

On the Crocker’s wall, a dog lies curled on the floor under the family kitchen table, on the right, beneath a bowl of soup. The painting I’d memorized from the museum’s server was flopped — the dog and the soup on the left side.

I’d just smoked an intoxicating melange of premium small-batch flowers marketed by Cheech Marin, the Chicano godfather of cannabis culture, a collector of Chicano art himself.  

I had not walked through the doors of misperception but I was stoned on first sight: The digital image mystically mirrored the original painting.

Positively Haight Street Legal

The Upper Haight-Ashbury — really, the only Haight-Ashbury to many, may finally get its first cannabis store.

Buying pot in San Francisco’s hippie ‘hood hits you like a surrealistic pillow in the very Aquarius age of cannabis legalization.

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — “Dank.”

“Green bud.”

“Need weed?”

Cannabis come-hithers hang over the Haight-Ashbury like body funk on street waifs — beacons and warnings signifying pot peddlers holding black-market bags.

I palmed two twenties and slalomed the sidewalk demimonde of dreadlocks, dogs and dubious hygiene.

I made eye contact by mistake.

Ganja girl flashed a broken smile and a digital scale.

“Full weight,” she said. “No Haighths, man.”

Haighths. That’s local lingo for notoriously pinched bags, two or three nugs shy of what both stoners and connoisseurs would agree is the common unweighed standard for an eighth of an ounce of cannabis flowers.

In the era of cannabis prohibition, Haighths were a form of street tax and convenience fee. Overpaying cash for underweight weed was the street-buyer’s bargain if you were a tourist, if your regular dealer was out of town, if your medical card expired or if you needed a last-minute housewarming gift on your way to dinner at your friend’s pad.

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Pothead Hall-of-Famers Defy Jerry Brown’s Cranky-Old-Man Opinion of Cannabis

California’s governor has bestowed awards on high-achieving cannabis users.

BY ED MURRIETA

Despite California Gov. Jerry Brown’s cranky-old-man views on the productivity of people who consume cannabis, The California Hall of Fame honors people who have made distinguished achievements in the arts, education, business, labor, science, sports, philanthropy and public service in the Golden State.

Since its creation in 2006, the California Hall of Fame has quietly proven that cannabis is no barrier to success. About 10 percent of inductees are famous and successful cannabis users.

Brown himself has bestowed awards on high-achieving cannabis users.
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Cheech’s Private Stash: Review of Premium Pot, Reflection on Chicano Culture

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BY ED MURRIETA

A lot rode on my first taste of Cheech’s Private Stash, a premium cannabis brand fronted by Cheech Marin, the Chicano half of the comedy improv duo that fed my head in my formative years.

By the time “Up In Smoke” dropped on Sept. 15, 1978, portraying and defining cannabis culture in a uniquely multicultural California way, I was 13 years old and totally assimilated in Cheech and Chong, two grenudo marijuanos who looked and talked like my older Mexican-American cousins, my Aunt Frank, her hippie friends Eddie and Benny and various vatos and low-riders in my family’s Tortilla Flats homestead ‘hood near the railroad tracks in Roseville.

Even before I’d first bought and tried pot — a “lid,” the Seventies’ name for an ounce, purchased with money I’d earned delivering the afternoon newspaper — I could recite lines from Cheech and Chong comedy albums word-for-word like kids today spew rappers’ rhymes.

Who ate all the baloney?

Dave’s not here.

Bailiff, whack his pee-pee! 

Good thing we no step. 

No stems, no seeds that you don’t need.

Acapulco Gold is …

{make toke sound then hold breath through next line}

Bad-ass weed. 

Cheech’s Private Stash arrived with the baggage and burden of smoking your old heroes. My encounter last year with Tommy Chong’s Chong’s Choice joints was a bummer.   I didn’t have the higest hopes for Cheech’s Private Stash until I saw the high prices of Cheech’s Private Stash eighths in a Sacramento store: up to $65 with tax.

Cheech’s Private Stash had better be some bad-ass weed, que no?

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Gastro a-Go-Go in Victoria, B.C., Fueled My Cannabis Tourism Research

Ed’s Note:  I researched and wrote food, beer and travel stories in British Columbia when I lived in Tacoma WA in the mid-2000s.  I was a card-carrying member of The Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada and visited Victoria regularly. Canadian cannabis tourism opportunities I envisioned then bud today.  British Columbia’s royally quaint capital is directly and easily reachable via ferry from Seattle. A walkable city with double-decker buses that get you around, you can visit Terp City and Nuage vapor lounges and Victoria’s great gastro pubs without risking DUIs. 

Sustainability and seasonality rule Victoria, where the art and science of food is a cut above pub grub.

BY ED MURRIETA

VICTORIA, British Columbia – A bartender asked where I’m from. I told him.

“You guys have a lot of great beers down there,” he said.

“Thank you,” I replied. “The food’s better up here.”

I wasn’t simply acting polite in this commonwealth capital better known for flowers than food. I was trying not to act like one of those Pacific Northwest Americans who get googly-eyed over Canada.

It was a rainy day in November. I’d just enjoyed a glowing bowl of carrot soup that parted the clouds.

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Up In Smoke: Where’s Classic Cinematic Stoner Cast Today?

BY ED MURRIETA

At the end of “Up in Smoke,” Cheech and Chong, in their most famous roles, drive off in the California sunset, destination unknown but stoned.

“Up in Smoke” was released 40 years ago, on Sept. 15, 1978.

Here’s where the cast of cinema’s cannabis comedy classic is today:

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5 Pipe-Dream Venues for California Cannabis Events

BY ED MURRIETA

AB  2020, currently moving through the Legislature as an Aug. 31 deadline approaches, would allow cannabis events to be held in any venues willing to host them — beyond the current designated few state-sanctioned fairgrounds.

Here are five dream venues for cannabis events in California:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery


Cooks Valley Campground


Del Mar Fairgrounds


Esalen Institute

Empire Polo Club

S.F.’s $2 Billion Bus Depot in Heart of City’s Pot

High-speed rail is years off but Transbay Transit Center can speed your journey to cannabis — and offers stunning views from a quarter-mile-long rooftop park you can visit after you get high nearby.

BY ED MURRIETA

San Francisco’s old temporary bus station is only two blocks away and itself served routes where cannabis is legally sold and consumed in neighborhood stores and lounges, from the Financial District and South of Market to the Mission District and Bernal Heights and beyond.

San Francisco’s fancy new $2 billion bus station — the Transbay Transit Center or the Salesforce Transit Center depending on how you honor naming rights for public amenities — grand opened on Saturday and today begins doing what it was built to do: be a transportation hub for the city’s Muni bus lines, Greyhound buses, Amtrak buses and regional commuter buses entering and exiting the city.

In addition to an exclusive skyway that carries buses off the Bay Bridge, the new Transbay Transit Center offers bus riders architectural eye candy and a stunning urban amenity: a quarter-mile-long rooftop park open to the public that provides towering, intoxicating views amid steel-and-glass skyscraper construction.

You can’t legally smoke cannabis in the Transbay Transit Center’s Salesforce Park. (It’s guarded by people and video cameras 24/7.) But you can certainly consume at a nearby cannabis lounge and return to enjoy the park. Do be aware of each bus line’s rules about carrying cannabis.

The subterranean high-speed trains in the architect’s rendering above? They’re part of a future plan. For now, Transbay Transit Center, or the Salesforce Transit Center, is a fancy bus depot that’ll soon feature pop-up food vendors, public art and entertainment.

See the map below for all the cannabis stores and lounges that easily reachable by bus or walking from the Transbay Transit Center.

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QR Code on Pot Product Label — Other Examples?

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BY ED MURRIETA

This QR code on a jar of Lumpy’s Flowers designer cannabis links to lab test details.

Can you point me to other examples and uses of QR and augmented reality technology in the cannabis industry?

5 Wine-Style Appellations California Needs

The California agency charged with creating an appellations system that will let cannabis cultivators market sun-grown flowers by region of origin like wine is sold to discerning consumers is seeking public input as it prepares for workshops on the CalCannabis Appellations Program that was authorized by Gov.  Jerry Brown nearly three years ago.

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Clearing Air (and Mellowing Your Head) in re: ‘A Spike Lee Joint’

BY ED MURRIETA

Google the phrase “A Spike Lee Joint.”

Lest you’re thinking the New York filmmaker doobied the right thing and branded his own line of joints, baby, please, baby, please, baby, baby, baby, please remember that “A Spike Lee Joint” is the brand Spike Lee slaps on all his films, including his latest, “BlacKKKlansman,” a story so soberingly provocative and racially enraged you’ll want to a smoke a mellow indica before, during and after watching this joint.

 

 

Regardless of Spike Lee films’ limited cannabis themes and content in films set in the pre-legalization cannabis era, some of you may think A Spike Lee Joint is a cinematic spleef. Pipe dream anew  then — please baby, please, baby, please, baby, baby, baby, please pipe dream anew —  now that New York legalization looms.

What We Toke When We Toke About Love

If Raymond Carver wrote country loves songs, they’d go like this

Another Cup of Coffee and a Smoke

BY ED MURRIETA

Another cup of coffee and a smoke
Brush your hair and open up your robe
Tell me one more story
Feed me spoons of hope
Virginia Slim, I ain’t your man
One of us must go
After another cup of coffee and a smoke

Grind the beans and roll the weed
Do the ritual
Wait until the water
sounds like tears about to boil

French press your lips to mine
Bite robustly complete
Steep me in your memories
Pour me with your cream

Another cup of coffee and a smoke
Brush your hair and open up your robe
Tell me one more story
Feed me spoons of hope
Virginia Slim, I ain’t your man
One of us must go
After another cup of coffee and a smoke

Grind the beans and roll the weed
Do the ritual
Wait until the water
sounds like tears about to boil

After another cup of coffee and a smoke
Brush your hair and open up your robe …

Ron Jeremy Joints and Gummies Shaped Like Porn Legend’s Claim to Fame?

BY ED MURRIETA

Ron Jeremy is one of the most legendary pornographic movie stars of all time. He is huge.

He tweeted that folks should contact his manager if they want him to do promotional work.

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CRUISING FOR CANNABIS

West Coast Boasts a Dozen Pot Ports of Call

High-end boutiques, pot-paired dinners, wine-and-weed and bud-and-beer pairings, CBD massages, CBD hotel mini-bars, decadent lounges and smoking excursions await cruise-ship travelers from Alaska to the Mexican border.

BY ED MURRIETA

Cruise-ship travelers are disembarking to legal cannabis on the West Coast of the United States and soon in Canada.

Major cruise lines docking in Juneau, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego today are just gangways away from legal ganja.

On Oct. 17, when legalization begin in Canada, Vancouver, BC, will become the West Coast’s 10th significant pot port and one of the rare places in all legal lands where tourists can smoke in cafes.

When Massachusetts’ recreational cannabis stores go online sometime this summer, there’ll be an international East Coast pot port enclave extending from Boston to Quebec City, Canada.

Today, you can pull into ports on many major cruise lines working the Pacific Ocean today 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.

Depending on how long you’re in port — some cruises pull in for several hours, some for a day or two — you can book tours or DIY your own excursions.

But just don’t carry or use cannabis on board cruise ships. Here’s the bottom line from one major cruise line servicing North America’s Pacific Ocean coast:

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Chalice Has No Shot at Victorville Event OK

Cannabis festival organizers can make their case to city council but there’s no way Chalice will get local jurisdiction approval.

By ED MURRIETA

Regarding Chalice Festival’s attempt to stage a recreational cannabis event at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, Calif., next month and its chance to make its case to the City Council next week, here’s a note from the city public information officer, who makes it sound like Chalice is being placated prior to the ultimate truth sinking in.

TONIGHT

victorvillecapture2

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Scent of Craft Brewers: Beer Marketing Lessons to Cannabis Marketers

What do women craft brewers want? Flavor, variety, class and less skin.

Ed’s Note: Written in May 2007. Not published anywhere but my dormant food portfolio and now here.

BY ED MURRIETA

AUSTIN, Texas — Never mind Miller, Bud and Coors’ foam-soaked fantasies. Jenny Talley is a craft brewer who doesn’t squirm when sex sells suds.

“We have a sexy girl on the bottle,” said Talley, a 38-year-old blonde from Utah, who bears an outdoorsy dream-girl resemblence to the midriff-revealing Provo Girl on the label of her award-winning pilsner.

Though decidedly G-rated like the Provo Girl, (Talley brews 4 percent ABV in Utah, after all), Talley is pictured on Squatter’s Pub’s Web site with two gold medals she won at Great American Beer Festivals; the awards plunge down the T-shirt that clings to her taught torso.

“The Great American Beer Festival was founded on scantily dressed women trying to get you to vote for someone’s beer,” Talley said. “If a woman wants to use her body to sell beer, she has every right. If it works and it sells beer, I’m OK with it.”

Natalie Cilurzo, general manager of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, isn’t OK with it. Aside from free-flowing beverages and the occasional kilt, the Craft Brewers Conference was a buttoned-up affair. (“We like it classier,” Cilurzo said.) One vendor’s scantily clad model stood out at the trade show.

“I was very uncomfortable for her because that’s not what we’re about,” Cilurzo said. “She’s not going to help that guy sell more tanks. I don’t want to do business with him because I don’t like his marketing. Can you believe this guy?”

The comley model stirred Cilurzo’s incredulity kettle. She recalled a radio advertisement for a Sonoma County beer festival that she and her brewmaster husband, Vinnie, sponsored in March.

“I told Vinnie: I’m offended by this commercial,” she said. “The whole commercial was just about people being totally disgusting and drunk. And then the guys says, ‘Hey, babe, you bring the beer, I’ll bring the condoms.’ Vinnie said, ‘We’re pulling out.’”

As interviews with a dozen women brewers and brewery executives at the Craft Brewers Conference here in April revealed, figuring out what women want — both in beers and their marketing — is obvious and impossible.

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To Make Dank Beer, Brewers Forced to Get Creative

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Handicapping Sacramento Cannabis Lounges

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Top five contenders for opening capital city’s first cannabis lounge for social consumption.

BY ED MURRIETA

Sacramento’s City Council recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of the nations’s first event featuring open consumption of cannabis in public.

The next milestone facing Sacramento is whether the city should permit cannabis lounges — licensed and regulated places where adults age 21 and over can congregate to consume cannabis in social settings, like the lounge scene in San Francisco.

The city is expected to consider allowing cannabis lounges this fall. If allowed, applicants will be limited to currently operating businesses holding retail sales licenses from the state, and locations will be tied to stores’ physical addresses.

Until then, here are my top five contenders for opening Sacramento’s first cannabis lounge:

  • Northstar
  • Hugs
  • A Therapeutic Alternative
  • 515 Broadway
  • Abatin Wellness

My observations and comments, based on the nature of the current operation, management’s credibility, and future lounges’ locations and proximity to public transit, are contained within the embedded map below.

Here’s my vision and pitch deck for a cannabis lounge.

Read all of my previous cannabis lounge coverage.

Weed Weekend: San Francisco

Legal cannabis is best enjoyed in social lounges, with gourmet food and in the hands of five-star hotel spa masseuses.

BY ED MURRIETA

SAN FRANCISCO — Like Amsterdam, this lusty city-state boasts picaresque history, edgy authenticity, mind-blowing art and Instagrammable sights,  and among inclined travelers is a cannabis bucket-list destination. From Barbary Coast Bohemians to Beat generation poets and the Sixties’ Summer of Love to today’s legalized renaissance, cannabis has enshrouded San Francisco in intoxicating fog, a heady come-hither whether you wear flowers in your hair or Kate Spades on your feet. Once, tourists scored baggies of pot from hygiene-challenged ragamuffins on hippie-haven Haight Street; modern visitors marvel at the commercialization and wide-spread availability of California’s top agricultural product now that it’s taxed and regulated by the state and innovated by artisans and entrepreneurs. So dive into world-class cannabis retailing; decadent social-consumption lounges; gourmet meals and five-star hotel spa massages incorporating the plant; and local craft beer and cocktails spiked with cannabis extracts, toasting San Francisco’s gay and high history.

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California State Capitol Smoking Spots Mapped — Even Under Moon Tree

Thanks to cigarettes, medicinal cannabis users can smoke cannabis at the California Capitol, atop a subterranean building resembling an abandoned Star Trek set, against a tree-shrouded stone waterwall and beneath the Moon Tree.

BY ED MURRIETA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Twenty years before recreational cannabis was legalized in California and public consumption was explicitly prohibited, the state’s medicinal cannabis users were already allowed to smoke cannabis wherever it’s legal to smoke cigarettes. In the state capital, thanks to the tobacco lobby, cigarette smoking is allowed on state property and near some state buildings in downtown Sacramento.

That means qualified medicinal cannabis users can smoke on steps of the state Capitol, on park benches surrounding the Capitol’s grounds, atop a subterranean building, in a cool, shady bamboo thicket set against a waterwall near the state’s really cool, harlequin-esque power tower, and beneath the Moon Tree, a Sequoia Redwood grown from seed that went to space aboard NASA’s Apollo 14 in 1971.

Here are some of the best and most convenient locations for medicinal cannabis users walking, biking or commuting downtown Sacramento’s famous tree-lined streets.

Take a break.

Medicate.

It’s legal.  Nonetheless, carry valid ID and your current medicinal cannabis authorization.

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Pairing San Francisco’s Culinary and Cannabis Treats

Enhance the city’s 2018 James Beard winners with the city’s best dispensaries and smoking-vaping lounges.

Dominique Crenn, left, and Barbary Coast.

Dominique Crenn, left, and Barbary Coast.

BY ED MURRIETA

Four San Francisco culinary stars were recognized by the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards this week. By way of toasting their accomplishments and complementing their allure, here are my suggestions for pairing San Francisco’s Beard award-winners and the city’s best legal commercial cannabis experiences.

Dominique Crenn + Barbary Coast

Poetic, adventuresome, traditional and modernist all describe San Francisco’s two Michelin star chef and the city’s sexiest cannabis destination.  Dominique Crenn, chef and owner of Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn and Petit Crenn, won the Beard award for best chef in the Western United States. If there was an analogous award for best all-in-one store-dab bar-smoke lounge in the West, it would be Barbary Coast. Aesthetically an homage to old-school San Francisco’s Gilded Era vice district. Barbary Coast is straight-up state-of-the-art — from high-end concentrates to high-tech vaporizers and HVAC systems that silently suck smoke from the room so it doesn’t stink up your clothes.  

B. Patisserie + SPARC

The work-and-life partners behind B. Patisserie, a small Pacific Heights bake shop with a cult-like following, are San Francisco baking royalty. Belinda Leong was pastry chef at San Francisco fine-dining notables Gary Danko and Manresa. Michael Suas founded the San Francisco Baking Institute. Get their killer kouign amann to go and enjoy the buttery Britney-style croissant buns South of Market at SPARC, along with Volcano-vaped, farm-grown, lab-tested cannabis and free hot tea from the self-serve bar. (SPARC told me $2 cups of organic family-farmed coffee are on the way.)

In Situ + Urban Pharm

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s restaurant serves “borrowed” dishes “on loan” from world-renowned chefs. Feed your head on a la carte dabs at Urban Pharm (or smoke joints if that’s your jam) then feast your eyes on intentionally spare alternate dimensions at In Situ, which won the Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant Design (76 seats and over). Like In Situ, Urban Pharm elides polished and raw, a steampunked Burning Man blend of cut metal and re-purposed wood.   

Zuni Cafe + The Apothecarium

The iconic restaurant’s roast chicken and hamburger are both longtime legends. Now. Zuni’ Cafe‘s front of the house gets its due — Beard’s Outstanding Service award. Hop on a classic street car for a half-mile ride to The Apothecarium, the flagship of three local cannabis stores where chandeliers, marble counters and soft music ooze elegance of high-end jewelry boutiques. To match Zuni’s service, let The Apothecarium’s professional consultants guide you through a delicious selection of California’s best edibles, concentrates and cannabis strains.

National Music Promoters Want a Slice of the Cannabis Pie

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Dollar Dabs & Penny Pre-Rolls Fire Up the Sacramento Cannabis Cup

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

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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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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

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Cultivate Your Ultimate Las Vegas Cannabis Weekend

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

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

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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?

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.

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.

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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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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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?

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