For varying reasons — too busy, worried about your privacy, just didn’t get around to it — you didn’t get your California medical card and haven’t yet experienced the state’s vibrant commercial marketplace for medical marijuana.

The time has arrived, friends. Next month the need for the card goes up on smoke, as legal recreational dispensaries begin opening across California.

If the last time you engaged with weed was “back in the day,” you probably took a puff at a party, or scored a bag of something green and skunky through connections. You had no idea exactly what you were smoking. And unless you somehow came across some pot brownies (fat chance), there was smoke — you combusted dry flower rather than vaporizing, eating or drinking your cannabis.

It’s a whole new world of cannabis wonderful in those shiny dispensaries, Californians. Get thee to a dispensary.


Chances are you never have chewed or slurped your weed. And if you did, it probably wasn’t a great experience — not many pot aficionados, at least in the good old days, really understood how to craft a proper marijuana edible, with accurate dosing. So surveying the edibles selection at your freshly-minted recreational dispensary is high on your list of things to do. Immediately. 

Weed cookies

But wait. Before you take that first nibble or gulp, find out how many milligrams of THC are in the product, and then do some math. You have not been experimenting with edibles, so limit your consumption to between five and 10 milligrams — if that chocolate bar is 180 milligrams DON’T EAT THE WHOLE THING. Even if it contains tangerine and chocolate. Most brands divide their products into serving-size pieces, and stick with that serving size. And then wait. This isn’t a bong hit. You won’t feel a damn thing for at least half an hour, and sometimes it can take 90 minutes for the edibles buzz to kick in. And once it does, savor it. The bliss tends to be body-luxurious and long-lasting. 


Cannabis weed flowers

You really never knew what you were smoking when you took that last hit, back in 2008. All you remember is you felt it. But with the universe of strains is like a jungle — dense with life and variety. Now, instead of going home with an indiscriminate baggie of green vegetable matter, you sit on the couch with things like Blue DreamCherry AK and Tangie. Many of them broadcast aromas markedly distinct from one another, and they offer different effects, too. Some are awesome for energy and sociability. Others are meant for sinking into Blade Runner (the original) for the 84th time. And some strains will help you turn that pen-and-ink drawing into something intricate and g r o o v y.

Make strain experimentation an early legal-weed project, and seek guidance from those friendly neighborhood budtenders. If you are lucky and can combine your pot with the ultimate pleasure, try Gorilla Glue #4 or Flo (among many others) for the time between the sheets. Gearing-up for a long night of movies? GSC and Lambs Bread are excellent choices. Painting pottery? Illustrating that g r o o v y mural? Try Kali Mist or Jillybean

And again — do work with your budtender. Those gals and guys tend to know exactly what you are after for the hike or hang-out. 


Vaporizers come in a ton of different styles and prices. Some are designed for flower — just fill the chamber with some of that Afghan Kush you picked up at the rec shop and let the machine do its thing while you inhale. The vaporizer should not combust the flower. Instead, it heats the flower to a high enough temperature to turn the THC into vapor — which you inhale — but not so hot that the bud ignites. We love this style of vape.

But the pens are crushing the marketplace right now, and for good reason — they are affordable, convenient and discrete. Talk to your budtender about the shop’s pen selection and walk away with one. You will dig the ridiculous ease with which you can consume: no lighter, no flower, no resin-coated bowl or fragile joint. And no pot smell, either. Just slip it out of your purse or pocket, take a quick hit and continue with what you were doing. The whole process takes just a few seconds.


Some dispensaries are destinations — spectacles of atmospheric design, glorious lighting, immense inventory and lots of vibe, vibe, vibe. They are worth visiting, even if out of the way. And if they are in your backyard, that’s a win-win. But don’t forget about the cool mom-and-pop shop down the street, the slip of a place with the smartly curated selection, the weed-geeks behind the counter who listen closely while you ask questions (and answer with smiles and savvy), the daily deals and the always-rotating flower offerings. Your friendly neighborhood dispensary might not compel people to spend 90 minutes navigating traffic, but that’s not the point of the place — it is here for you, just like the bar on the corner and the breakfast joint three blocks away. Get to know the people in your local shop and become a regular.

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