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.
LOS ANGELES: Take the roads most traveled to greater Los Angeles cannabis stores that run the spectrum from celebrity-filled to LaLa Land chic to dingy beach-bum authentic. Scores of illegal stores. More TK.
SAN FRANCISCO: California’s most sophisticated city is chock-full of chic cannabis stores, decadent smoking and vaping lounges, CBD massages, ganja yoga classes, pot-paired dinners and immersive tours that explore San Francisco’s ingrained connection to cannabis, from Beats to hippies to foodies to techies.
LOS ANGELES: With glitzy, world-class shops in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach, MedMen leads the prevailing trend of high-end cannabis retailing. California Congressman Ted Lieu, a pro-cannabis Democrat, cut the ribbon on MedMen’s recent opening in Venice Beach, the private equity-backed cultivator-retailer’s 13th international outlet, now featuring Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop-approved products and located in a section of the boho beach town GQ magazine calls “the coolest block in America.” (For for grubbier, more old-school Venice Beach experience, Green Goddess is a half mile closer to the fabled beach.) In Studio City not from where the 101 meets the 405, Buds & Roses caringly curated flowers, edibles, topicals and extracts appeal to a discerning clientele — celebrities and non-celebrities alike.
SAN FRANCISCO: Add other SF stores … TK The Apothecarium, San Francisco’s elegant and welcoming mothership of high-end cannabis retailing that operates three luxe boutiques locally and one in Las Vegas. Here in the heart of the Castro District, where California’s historic medicinal cannabis movement and today’s spreading legalization juggernaut were born, you’ll find an excellent selection of the best brands, plus smart and friendly service from budtenders who ably answer questions. Three locations, near popular attractions and neighborhoods like AT&T Park, the Castro District and the Marina District.
SAN FRANCISCO: Barbary Coast Collective, San Francisco’s all-in-one cannabis store and cannabis lounge that harkens to the city’s most decadent days. Barbary Coast sells fine flowers and choice concentrates. Enjoy them in a state-of-the-art lounge vibing classic steakhouse and vintage bordello, appointed with quartz glass dab rigs, leather banquettes and smoke-scrubbing exhaust systems. Located South of Market near Union Square, convenient to museums, entertainment and shopping. Also: Urban Pharm, SPARC, Bloom Room, Lounge 847 and even Re-Leaf.
LOS ANGELES: Hitman Coffee Shop, a private-membership BYO cafe/gallery where you can consume cannabis you purchased elsewhere, is within easy striking distance from Buds & Roses and all MedMen shops. Reminiscent of Amsterdam-style neighborhood hangouts, Hitman offers custom-roasted coffee and a cozy garden for smoking. Enjoy stand-up comedy, music performances, fashion and art exhibitions. Admire showroom-quality glass art and dab with celebrities, extract artists and luminaries from L.A.’s cannabis movement.
SAN FRANCISCO: At Flore, the 45-year-old iconic cafe which endures as a humble clubhouse for gay cannabis activists. People-watch from patio and sidewalk tables while munching stoner bar snacks like chicken-fried bacon and drinking cannabis in the form of cocktails crafted by the cream of San Francisco mixologists. Cocktails contain 5 mg of non-psychoactive hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, and the benign, distilled essence of select cannabis strains. Toast late cannabis icons Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, who met here in the Seventies and influenced the politics and possibilities of people and pot for their own and future generations.
LOS ANGELES: mixologists-are-getting-creative-with-cbd-oil- Cannabidiol oil has become commonplace in Los Angeles … brewpub in Sherman Oaks, offers a CBD cocktail called the Gentle Monk ($16). http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/las-mixologists-are-getting-creative-with-cbd-oil-9369414
SAN FRANCISCO: Why wander the Haight-Ashbury, where the age of Aquarius approaches the age of retirement and pot-branded Cookies hoodies cost $100? Do your body better at five-star St. Regis Hotel, where Remede Spa offers Love and Haight hot-oil cannabis massages that will soothe you, not stone you. Instead of working your body with traditional essential oils, masseuses use non-psychoactive hemp oil containing popular anti-inflammatory compound CBD and no trace of THC, pot’s euphoric compound. CBD may be therapeutic but it’s not cheap relief. Sixty-minute massages cost $275 each but come with access to separate men’s and women’s whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms, plus Champagne and chocolate truffles. Physically closer to the Haight-Ashbury and slightly cheaper, Kabuki Springs & Spa’s CBD massages start at $137.50.
LOS ANGELES: The Standard, a boutique hotel in West Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles stock gourmet CBD gumdrops and luxe CBD body lotion in their minibars. The CBD-infused products are both from L.A.-based luxury cannabis brand Lord Jones. A Lord Jones retail shop inside a Standard hotel is in development.
SAN FRANCISCO: There are two approaches to cannabis cuisine. One puts cannabis in food, using mains, sides and condiments as delivery systems for highly processed forms of cannabis, which, while enhancing foods’ aromas and flavors, are not instantly enjoyable as the onset of edible cannabis’ effects can be delayed for two hours. The other approach pairs different strains of smokable and vapable cannabis with different meal courses, a different experience of flavors and instant effects. That’s how Coreen Carroll prepares and serves her four-course Cannaisseur Series dinners ($150 per person), which emphasize the symbiotic bonhomie pot brings to the dinner table — heightened smell and taste sensations, intensified focus on nuances and a dash of je na sa quios that enhances the whole.
LOS ANGELES: Andrea Drummer. Holden Jagger. Jeff the 420 Chef. Chris Sayeth. TK TK TK TK TK TK TK
SAN FRANCISCO: There are so many things to do in San Francisco you may not need a tour. If you must take a tour, take a tour that pairs two Bay Area obsessions — cannabis and wine. Start across the Bay with musician Melissa Etheridge’s cannabis-infused wine at the Oakland Cannabis Creative, then limo back to San Francisco (you can smoke in the vehicle) and go inside cannabis cultivation facility The Betty Project. Name other tours TK.
LOS ANGELES: Let High Tide Tours do the driving, staring with an outing to a canyon for a morning smoke and meditation, then onto top-tier retail stores, a fireside chat with a grower and indica-paired yoga on Venice Beach.