Weed on wheels

steve@sfbg.com

CANNABIS CLUB GUIDE 2012 When we first created our detailed local Cannabis Club Guide two years ago — which you can find at www.sfbg.com/cannabisguide — it seemed as if the marijuana business had entered a golden age of openness and professionalism in San Francisco. But with a federal crackdown shuttering at least a half-dozen dispensaries in the Bay Area (Market Street Collective, Sanctuary, Mr. Nice Guy, Medithrive, Divinity Tree, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana) things have changed. Luckily for needy patients and stoners alike, San Francisco has always been a resourceful city, so those meddling feds have actually done very little to disrupt the free flow of the world’s best marijuana.

Even before the cannabis industry moved above ground and into brick-and-mortar storefronts, there were always pot delivery services here. Now they’re really proliferating, so we thought it was high time to add them to our guide. And once we delved into this realm, we found that it was every bit as civilized and professional as a visit to our friendly neighborhood dispensary — and perhaps even more convenient and cost-effective.

The process seems just as secure and legally compliant as it is at the clubs, with most reputable delivery services requiring that you become a member before accessing their products. That means sending them copies of your doctor’s recommendation and California ID, which can be even done from a photo on your smart phone. After the services verify you, you’re good to go.

We’re starting the guide with just a trio of the most high-profile delivery services, as well as a couple more dispensaries, but we’ll be adding to the online guide throughout the year, so check back frequently for more updates.

 

DELIVERIES

 

THE GREEN CROSS

This is one of San Francisco’s premier cannabis clubs, setting the standard for everyone else in terms of quality, professionalism, and advocacy for the industry. My sources had long been telling me that the Green Cross carries the best weed in the city — information validated by the long string of awards it accumulates at cannabis competitions. And founder Kevin Reed has been a passionate, high-profile leader in the community for years.

But I became even more impressed once I actually used the service. Its great website features the best descriptions of its nearly two dozen strains of lab-tested marijuana, including where and how it was grown, as well as products ranging from inexpensive pipes to eye drops. I settled on a $40 eighth of Blue Deliah, a sativa-dominant hybrid that looked both cheap and good.

Within about 30 minutes, the friendly delivery guy showed up at my apartment, handed me a white paper bag full of goodies, and charged me $35 with my new customer discount. Inside the bag, there was a grinder, a cool jar, rolling papers, a lighter and other Green Cross swag, a pot cookie, non-medicated munchies, an information packet, a receipt stuck to the inside of the bag — and a baggie of beautifully trimmed buds.

www.thegreencross.org

(415) 648-4420

Opened in 2004

Price: Low to average

Selection: Huge and high-quality

Delivery time: Super fast

Sketch factor: Very low

Access: Secure but easy to use

 

MEDITHRIVE

When Medithrive opened as a dispensary in my Mission District neighborhood, it became one of my favorite clubs, so I was disappointed to see it shut down by threats from the federal government late last year. But it immediately reinvented itself as a delivery-only club, and it still retains the friendly service and large selection that first endeared me to it.

“It’s definitely been a change for us, but if patients can handle the delivery thing, it ends up being better for everyone,” said the employee who took my order: the Apocalypse Medi-Mix, a mix of high-quality small buds (better for vaporizers) for $40 for four grams. And because I was a newbie to its delivery service, they threw in a free joint.

I called at 3 p.m. and was told to expect delivery between 4:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m. — and it actually showed up at 4 p.m. It wasn’t a problem because I was working at home all afternoon, but I can imagine such a long arrival window wouldn’t be ideal for some. And frankly, the buds were pretty dry, perhaps the result of not moving as much inventory as Medithrive is used to.

But on the whole, it’s still a solid dispensary and a very friendly staff that’s still worth using.

www.medithrive.com

(415) 562-MEDI

Opened in 2010

Price: Average with good deals

Selection: Large

Delivery time: Fast but uncertain

Sketch factor: Low

Access: Secure but easy to use

 

FOGGY DAZE DELIVERY

This place pops up prominently when people Google marijuana delivery services in San Francisco, but other parts of its operation don’t seem quite as tight as its search engine savvy. Even its readily available website, I learned while trying to order, has an outdated menu of available items. For what it actually offers, customers need to visit www.weedmaps.com, where the guy said the menu would quickly appear when I typed in “foggydaze,” but it didn’t.

Finally, I just asked him to recommend a good sativa strain, and he mentioned just two that they had in stock: Headband and Cheezle. Shooting in the dark, I went with an eighth of Cheezle for $45, and he offered me a new member gift of a joint or sample of equal or lesser priced weed. I opted for the joint because it just seemed easier at that point, particularly since my initial call went to voicemail and then I had to wait 45 minutes to get my information verified. An hour later (he said it would be 45 minutes), I had my weed.

Compared to the bad old days of ordering whatever my underground drug dealer had and jumping through whatever hoops he required, Foggy Daze is much better. But in the modern marijuana scene in this highly evolved city, Foggy Daze doesn’t quite measure up as is.

www.foggydazedelivery.com

(415) 200-7451

Price: Average

Selection: Small

Delivery time: OK, but slow on verification

Sketch factor: Medium

Access: Pretty good

 

 

DISPENSARIES

 

APOTHECARIUM

It was only a matter of time before someone had the idea to really emphasize excellent personal service with high-end products in an elegant environment — but the folks at Apothecarium have done it in a way that really sets them apart from the rest of the pack. This place is an experience more than just a place to score weed, much the same way adventurous bars like Alembic aren’t just about getting tipsy but appreciating just what a cocktail can become in the right hands.

Visitors to the Apothecarium are warmly greeted and seated in front of an extensive (and well-designed) menu, which an knowledgeable staffer patiently and enticingly walks you through, focusing exclusively on you and your needs. Once you finally find what you want, a large jar of your chosen buds emerge, and the employee uses long silver tweezers to place the prettiest ones on a display tray in front of you to inspect while he weighs out your choice of small or large buds with an air of showmanship.

2095 Market, SF.

(415) 500-2620

www.apothecariumsf.com

Buds weighed on purchase

Opened in 2011

Price: High to low (“compassionately priced” strains available)

Selection: Large, extremely informative menu available

Ambiance: Looks like a fancy hair salon, hardwood floors and patterned wallpaper

Smoke on site: No

Sketch factor: Low

Access/security: Secure but easy access

 

1944 OCEAN COLLECTIVE

Despite a somewhat forbidding waiting room, this neighborhood dispensary on a mellow stretch of Ingleside’s Ocean Avenue has a real family feel once you step onto the salesfloor.

I was in the market for edibles when I went to 1944, and chatted with the jocular sales staff about which available edible wouldn’t give me couch lock or paranoia — a fully-functioning treat, as it were. My budtender pointed me towards a sativa-based peanut butter cookie with high potency, and then made me feel OK about our difficulty making a decision. “We’re all stoners here,” he laughed.

Once you make your selection among the edibles, flowers, and tinctures on offer, head to the back of the low-glitz, comfortably appointed room to give your money at the cash register. Head back to the bud counter to pick up your selection — if you’re lucky you can grab a brownie bite, cup of tea, or apple from the buffet to assuage your munchies. There’s even a sign that announces the dispensary’s job counseling and resume writing classes. A somewhat cold exterior sure, but it belies a warm heart. (Reviewed by Caitlin Donohue)

1944 Ocean, SF.

(415) 239-4766

Buds weighed on purchase

Opened in 2004

Price: From cheap to high

Selection: Large

Ambiance: Comfortable seating, jovial staff, family feel

Smoke on site: No

Sketch factor: Forbidding waiting room, friendly inside

Access/security: Tight 

Find our full Cannabis Club Guide at www.sfbg.com/cannabisguide