The western coastline of North America is so close to being entirely recreationally legal ever since California shifted its marijuana policies on January 1st of this year. Now that the everyday person visiting California can buy its legendary array of cannabis products, all bets are off.
When heading to the West, make sure to have a current government issued photo ID on hand, and a photo of the front and the back if you plan to use a delivery service. In some cities, the flow of recreational permits has been extremely slow, so it’s trickier to find shops that will take out of state customers right now in the beginning of the process. Weedmaps is helpful to a degree, but finding smaller collectives to patronize is just a few clicks and a phone call away. Some are willing to sell to you, but not willing to advertise that on the internet. A little patience and some sleuthing goes far.
Pre-rolls aren’t always the greatest, but when they’re spot on, life is sweet and convenient. Chuuuch, the cannabis brand developed by legendary pimp and Snoop Dogg’s spiritual adviser, Bishop Don Magic Juan, is nailing classy branding that is more than eye popping colors and textures: the smoke is primo as well.
Three giant pre-rolls come in a pack, and though price varies from shop to shop, you know it’s a deal when they’re too big for even the biggest head to finish alone. When you want to deploy the ease and style of pre-rolls, buying from one of the biggest cannabis advocates for literal decades is a way smarter and more satisfying move than any random shop’s shake cones!
Before the world of cannabis becomes fully standardized, patronizing independent shops is your best bet to sample the OG spirit of California cannabis.
Fruit Slabs are for the healthy set, as fresh fruits and organic oils turn into the fruit leathers of childhood, but amped up with 100mg of THC and fully vegan. I tried both the Mango Maui Wowie and the Tropical Haze and they were as tasty as something that potent can be. A tiny strip was enough to kick period pain to the curb, which is all I can want out of an edible.
The treats are not only insanely tasty as junk food is known to be, they are dosed at various levels to give you lots of options. Feeling chill? Pop one 3mg Sour Gummy from a 60mg bag. If you’re wanting to be extra, down the whole 60mg bag of cheese-os, and go to space. The snack world is your weed oyster.
Vapes are arguably the most common method of cannabis consumption you see around SoCal, so it’s no surprise that there are literally dozens of companies injecting their concentrates into cartridges. Here’s some of the most unique ones we tried:
Treebase Klear is making a new category of vape cartridge with a special twist: the clear concentrate that maintains superior flavor and strain likeness. The Gelato Cart is pure divinity, and indica heavy Mendo Breath is the best nighttime vape I’ve ever used.
The W Vape is a sleek and small vape pen that holds full 1000mg cartridges, which is a bit harder to find in other models. Their branded and proprietary cartridges are single-strain and color coded for indica, sativa, or hybrid, which makes quick buying so much easier.
The Pax Era has gotta be the classiest vape pen around right now. It’s small and discreet, and it’s no small help that it looks almost identical to their tobacco model, the Juul, which has converted smokers as much as when e-cigarettes first dropped. The concentrate producers fill their own Era brand empty cartridges, and it’s pure synergy. Brands that want to ride the wave have gotten on board, and the Jetty Extracts Girl Scout Cookies and Legion of Bloom the Terrapen were two amazing choices of the dozens of premium options. K-Town Collective is the spot to try for the most Pax Era options in LA.
This category is getting more attention, which is overdue in my humble opinion. Topicals are essential to pain management with cannabis, especially in the case of soreness and chronic pain. Finally becoming more than just mystery creams, brands are taking different approaches to topicals.
A liquid oil roll-on formula, Legion of Bloom’s Zana Ayurveda + CBD is a nice choice for acute pain and general soreness. Loaded with a long list of cooperative essential oils, Zana provides a unique approach to the CBD topical. It’s free of THC so there’s no buzz, just a few notches knocked off the pain scale.
Using a very different blend of EO’s Loki Lotion uses a THC/CBD balance to go after the bad stuff. I find this to be really something for tension and severe pain, the THC seems to help for longer especially when paired with CBD. Loki Lotion comes in a jar and has a salve-like texture that sinks into skin, so there’s no greasy aftermath if you apply the right amount.
Now that the floodgates are open, choosing the good stuff doesn’t have to be as tricky as it seems when you’re in the dispensary. Doing your research and reading reviews before heading in to purchase is the best way to tackle the sheer and glorious variety of it all. Navigating the best of legal California is more than what’s on sale or popular, it’s about your needs and wants first.
Photos: Maria Penaloza