Posted by: martinworster | May 21, 2019

Visiting A California Pot Shop – Marijuana Dispensary

Weed is now legal here. Time to explore my local pot shop and savor the craft beer experience….

The time has come. In California – following the lead from other States such as Colorado and Washington – it is now legal to purchase marijuana for recreational use. The law came into affect on Jan 1st 2018. Previously you could purchase marijuana for medicinal purposes – whatever that really means or entails. As marijuana is now increasingly being marketed as a miracle cure all for many ailments and conditions – anxiety, sleep issues, cancer, eating disorders, muscle spasms, epilepsy – it can be viewed that cannabis consumption could always be for medicinal purposes.

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How do you want to feel? Advertisement for weed to suit your mood

I find it fascinating to live here in these times and surely other parts of the world, including the UK, are watching very closely to see how this situation pans out. For me it was always a no brainer – it seems since as far back as we know, humans have experimented with drugs for many different reasons. History suggest that it’s part of the human condition to pursue intoxication via various substances. The fact that cannabis was illegal did not really stop people from consuming it. Why not legalise it, regulate it, tax it and watch as a massive industry is created and evolves? I am seeing it happen right here.

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Cameras are not allowed in dispensaries – so I had to smuggle this small one in

The day I entered the dispensary – just up the road from me in Costa Mesa – there was a long queue (line). I live in Huntington Beach, considered a city even though it’s essentially sprawling suburbia, and it seems like the City of Huntington Beach are less generous in giving out permits for dispensary businesses to open and hence you have to travel to neighbouring cities such as Costa Mesa and Santa Ana. Once in the entrance foyer you hand over ID and they take your details down and you wait till you are called up as the main room is so busy with clients. Looking around, there’s no one type of person – getting away from the stereotype of long haired stoners and hippies – all sorts of people were waiting including many smartly dressed professionals. Plus all ages young and old, athough you have to be over 21 of course.

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Your legal pusher

My name was called up and I entered the large main room and had to wait again for my turn to circle around the rows of glass display cabinets lining the walls. There was a buzz in the room and you can tell business was brisk. The room was very modern and I noticed most of the sales staff seemed to be attractive young woman who were probably good at upselling products to the male clients (even though the split between sexes in terms of clients seemed to be fairly even).

Upon first talking to the sales girl I immediately got a ‘craft beer experience’ vibe.

‘What are experience are you looking for?’ She asked.
‘Well I’m not really much of a smoker and when I do, it sometimes doesn’t agree with me and I can get a bit paranoid,’ I said, whilst nervously looking around the room thinking other people were talking about me.

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TV screens line the walls showcasing the hottest weed strains

She recommended the Indica strains as they were more mellow. ‘Indi-couch’ she punned, – as in once you smoke some of this you won’t be anywhere else. On the flipside you have the Sativa strains which are more in the head and can give you energy – probably something I didn’t want. In the glass cabinet were perhaps forty different little containers with different names like Diablo OG, Pineapple Express, Sour Diesel and Strawberry Cough. She pulled some out and showed me the bud – green, sticky, potent smelling, flecked with brown and coated in miniscule silver crystals which is apparently the bit which contains the THC (the psychoactive component that gets you high). All the flavours and tastes, plus the emphasis on what type of buzz you were after – this was definitely a craft beer type experience.

I looked in the cabinets to see an array of other types of products. You could buy three Marley branded pre-rolled spliffs in a small tin case. I bet Bob, for the crass trading using his name, would be turning in his grave – although Peter Tosh would be happy as he originally sung ‘Legalize It’. There was also the Marley name tagged on lots of other products, including sticky green bud in it’s purest form. Thank you to the Marley estate. You can also buy cannabis tea, patches, bath oil, vape pens and of course edibles. Edibles in all shapes and sizes – sours, gummy bears, cookies and chocolate – perfect for the user who doesn’t want to inhale smoke. Of course you can also ‘dab’ your herb if you’re that way inclined which is super potent form of concentrated cannabis you smoke through a specialised pipe – a method only for the seasoned heads.

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Marley branded pre-rolled spliffs. You couldn’t make it up.

On the wall behind the counter were TV screens listing all the strains of bud available and where they came from. The whole interaction offered a superb customer experience. Long gone are the days of meeting a dodgy bloke around the corner from the pub down some dark alley. This is now legit. And it’s legit big business. I have been monitoring the industry with interest and it seems like it’s booming. Many offshoot cottage industries – special cannabis lawyers, home delivery services, magazines, industry specific PR and marketing agencies, Weedmaps (online shopping and an Uber-like delivery service), cannabis restaurants and weed tours, weed yoga, CBD products and conferences – all done in a very consumer friendly Instagram shiny way.

I notice a lot of the marketing literature seems to really promote the ‘what buzz are you after’ angle. Want to feel positive? Take this? Want to feel mellow and go to sleep? Give this a whirl. Want to feel sensual and horny? Get this down your throat. It can be also quite specific about the dosages required – there are even whole product lines of dispensers, whether pens or vape, that can be very specific with the dosage.

It’s a very interesting time to be living in California as I watch this scene unfold. It also reveals how, despite the US on some levels – environmental policies, religion etc – being quite rigid and conservative, on this front it is very progressive. But of course, here it’s all about the Dollar and if people are making money and taxes are being raised – as they clearly are here – then everyone’s happy. This is early days. This industry will explode and inevitably the rest of the world will be following.

 

Some interesting products and adverts I found:

 

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CBD infused bath anyone?

 

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Infused edibles –  keep out of reach of children

 

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Cup of tea anyone?

 

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Premium cannabis smokes

 

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Which tea for me? What buzz are you looking for?

 

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Precise does with this gadget

 

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What affect are you looking for?

 

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Sticky green bud. Bud wizer?

 

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Another product using the angle of ‘how do you want to feel’?

 

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