When visiting a rec legal state, you also need to get to know the local lingo.
Though you may find a pack of business casuals puffing discreetly in an alley in L.A., it’s not as out in the open as some of California’s other cities, namely San Francisco. San Fran is where, on the same lawn, you have babies and bongs, tightrope walkers and tight blunt rollers, and no one bats an eyelash at either.
At face value, recreational spaces are less welcoming of cannabis, with their fines for public use and lack of consumption permitted spaces, and that can be especially true if you’re a marginalized person. Breaking the legal mold in the first year, San Francisco has been among the first to allow social consumption spaces from the get-go, and arguably the first to look the other way at public cannabis use.
From multiple parks carpeted with jovial gatherings to little tucked away vape lounges, it’s hard to not call it right away in favor of the Bay Area, but let’s take a closer look before the final score.
You really have your pick in San Francisco, with almost 200 shops in the larger Bay Area and even more delivery services large and small to bring weed products right to your door; even in the pre-legal years, hundreds of medical shops operated to serve the card holding population. Being right under the Emerald Triangle, it’s no surprise that the black market continues to thrive and benefit Bay residents trying to avoid a tax on purchase that can be as high as 30 percent.
Though there are laws on the books about public consumption of cannabis, San Francisco is positively saturated in the stuff, and has been for decades. This tolerance is responsible for the level of skilled professionals that come out of Northern California; a long love affair with cannabis requires connoisseurship and trusted networks.
Related Story: 5 Must-See Historical Cannabis Landmarks In San Francisco
Budtender Nicole Dasig from Barbary Coast Dispensary grew up in San Francisco, and she says that if not the friendliest city to cannabis, San Francisco is the most tolerant. With so many serious issues like opioids and homelessness, a bit of cannabis is pretty low on the enforcement list. Working in a fancy shop with a quality gig, she’s even seen her mom’s old school opinions shift as normalization spreads.
Dasig and her cohorts help people from all over the world not only select strains and products for every budget, they tend to the adjacent combustion friendly lounge. People who perhaps would be subject to fines on the street are able to partake indoors without fear. You can’t get more friendly than housing credit card flick to lighter flight under one very well ventilated roof.
Being that other cities aren’t as open to consumption spaces and still hand out public use tickets, it appears that in 2018, San Francisco holds the title of most weed friendly city. With places like Alaska considering cracking open a veritable Pandora’s Box of consumption and sales permits, and Las Vegas’ growing pains setting right, they could lose that title any day, but it wouldn’t make it any less of a green friendly place.
Photo by Maria Penaloza