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.

DISPENSARY DETAILS

Northstar Holistic Collective
Score: 4 starts (out of 5)
ADDRESS: 1236 C St., Sacramento, CA 95814
HOURS: 9AM—9PM Daily.
WEBSITE: https://northstar916.com
TYPE: Medical + Recreational  
LOUNGE ON SITE: No
WHAT TO BUY: Top-shelf eighths and budget-priced half ounces.
DISCOUNT: Medicinal patients save nearly 50 percent off combined state and local taxes.
FULFILLMENT: Call-ahead express orders available.


PROS

PRICES
Top-shelf genetics and budget deals.

UTILITY
Northstar is old school with a high-tech touch or two.

PLASTIC
Northstar accepts debit cards.
CENTRALLY LOCATED
Easy to reach by foot, bike, light rail or car.  


CONS

TESTED?
They don’t tout testing, so ask if it’s tested.

NO LOUNGE
Northstar doesn’t have a lounge like its San Francisco sister store, Urban Pharm. Sacramento currently does not permit lounges.