I guess there are some thirty to forty dispensaries in my fair City, ironically, none in the Haight Ashbury. I have to walk over ten blocks to legally score. There’s another one north of me on the way out of town going to the Golden Gate Bridge. It looks like it used to be a bakery or something, fittingly, now a place to get baked while grooving with plasma screens playing ‘Half-Baked’ over and over. It is not a bad place; you can toke up there (one of the few in the City where that is allowed), but I don’t care for the selection of herb, and the Weedtenders have a small attitude.
But I am heading east downtown towards the City looking for the perfect strain for the day. The first stop right outside the Panhandle is at a single trailer posing as a dispensary behind a rib joint. This low-fi set-up reminds me of a whorehouse I saw outside of Hairy Paw, Alaska when I was delivering the Thunderfuck to the pipeline workers. The no overhead business has about fifteen to twenty strains plus edibles. Not bad for a pinch, but I’m on a quest for the best. I think I can do better Mr. Haney’s Pot Shack. As I walk away looking back at the non-descript trailer, I think I’m seeing the future of the Pot Liquor store that is soon to be springing up as soon as legalization hits and the flood doors open to every get rich herb speculator. Oh yeah, the young woman behind the bullet-proof glass was hot and I couldn’t be sure if the deep plunging V-neck she was wearing was at the owner’s suggestion.
Next I went to Lower Haight Street. There’s about five or six places that have licenses to sell Weed. Again they smack of the unrighteous. Businessmen trying to jump on the Weed-wagon and makes some quick bucks from buds. Most of the businesses are glorified head shops with a back cage like in a casino where the few strains are stacked behind them in jars or in a binder displaying the wares du jour. A rule of thumb I have is if the proprietors of these establishments don’t look like they get high, I don’t buy from them. Right now it feels cheap and dirty to frequent shops that are just into it for the money. Naïve, maybe. An old time hippie, definitely yes.
There’s a place in the Lower Haight that perplexes me. It was the first dispensary I went to. That first day I walked in there I think I knew what Hef must have felt like when he first glimpsed the Mansion and the thoughts of all that it would entail. I felt like I had entered the happiest place in the world. But the second-year dorm-like behavior of the guys behind the bar turned me off. I had been going there for many months when one day after buying a beautiful OZ of Blue Mountain Sweet and Sour Diesel Violet Kush, the South Park T-shirted counter boy went gaga over a chick buying a half eighth of some Bakersfield Brown. He completely passed me over to another guy while he hits on this young woman. Again this place is one of the few places you’re allowed to vaporize your stuff on the premises. I can tell besides for the dorm-like immaturity, they cater to the real infirm and have a great compassion policy. There are many dispensaries that know the reason they are there is to dispense the medicine. As the profit motive becomes clearer to the greed heads that think they can get rich selling Weed, I am thankful for places like this that don’t forget their roots. With that being said, I still don’t like the place. I feel too old when I’m in there.
Like Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” At the bottom of Haight Street I can go right towards the Mission and check out the shops out there. Sorry, I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen there, but truthfully I haven’t really explored the area closely. The few I experienced didn’t do much for me.
Veering left I head towards downtown. The Tenderloin has a few shops but they have some silly rules that I don’t like. In many places you have to fill out a card and your name goes on file. This is good and bad for you. Good if you have lost your card and want to cry your way in, which can never happen. No card, no entry. The negative angle is you never know how good these stores keep their records. I can’t imagine them selling the information or giving your email address to someone, but I’d rather not leave my name with stores that I’m not so sure are going to be around next year.
This brings to my really happy place. Geary Street. Again, I’ve only been to about twenty places in the City and four to six in Oakland. When I first got my card, I went on a treasure hunt around the Bay looking for the best weed, mostly, because I could. I’ve calmed down from those days. I really only frequent two stores now. Oh yeah, I failed to mention the whore-house looking trailer near my house is open at the bright hour of eight am, and truth be told, I’ve scurried over there for an eighth until the Big Boys open at noon. But I does love my Geary St. shops. The two places I go to are in direct opposition to each other. My favorite is on Geary proper. It has the most strains I’ve seen in one place in the City. They have a large selection of treats, tinctures, hashes, and righteous deals for their coop members. The people behind the counter are great and knowledgeable. Some places push what they have a lot of and you get the feeling the boss says,”We got to move this stuff today boys, she’s drying up.” But not this place, they have top shelf of everything. In fact, I can’t believe I’m even saying this. Some of their stuff is too strong. No lie. They have some Indy’s that put you down like it was nap time in nursery school. Big shout out to M. for running such a tight, professional ship.
Drawback, you’re downtown and sometimes there are street people arguing about eleven dollars worth of herb, but for the most part, if I had to pick one place I could only go to, this would be it.
But now on the flipside, the street parallel to the north has the second best dispensary in the City, if you ask me. It reminds me of the Long Branch Saloon from Gunsmoke. Sure enough, Marshall Dylan is playing over the sound system as I enter. There’s a runway of a bar with old time brass stools with the big buckets that swivel attached for perspective patients to hunker up to while they go over the menu. They have a great selection, with a full edible bar and clones for purchase. It’s one stop for everything. When I first encountered the shop, I thought it was the opposite of the dorm shop in the Lower Haight. I found the people to be snooty like cousins from out East who you didn’t really know but have to be nice to and them to you. It seemed really formal. But somewhere along the line they hired Kiwis and Aussies that helped to lighten up the atmosphere. Now I like the place but not as much as the one on Geary Street.
But who’s complaining really? This is the greatest time in the world to be a pothead. It’s all happening. Pot will be legal this year in San Francisco.
But I have a little secret to tell. I’ve stopped smoking pot the way I used to like in the old days. When you had to secure your stash two weeks ahead of time, just to be sure you had weed. Now that it can be delivered or it’s a ten minute walk from the house, the urgency is gone. Now, I go days without it. That might not be a big thing for the straights out there who quit in high school but for me, a forty year smoker, it’s a big thing. It almost makes me think legalization may change things in ways we never expected.