Recreational marijuana is scheduled to go on sale at licensed stores in California on January 1st, or shortly thereafter, depending on the location.
Here’s what you need to know about buying and using so-called “adult use” cannabis.
Q: Where can I buy recreational marijuana?
A: You’ll only be able to buy it at about a dozen licensed stores in San Diego. The county and its other cities have banned the sale or cultivation (or both) of adult-use cannabis. More than 70 percent of counties and cities statewide have done the same thing.
Voters made recreational marijuana legal when they approved Proposition 64 in November 2016. But the law allows communities to ban cannabis farms and stores. Many did. And some may change their position if things go well in places like San Diego.
Q: Where are the marijuana stores located in San Diego?
A: It appears that you’ll be able to buy cannabis everywhere from Bay Park to Mission Valley to San Ysidro.
Earlier this year, the city issued 17 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries. Eleven of those stores are now operating, and all or most of them are expected to receive state approval to sell recreational marijuana, effective January 1st.
We’ve included a list of the 11 stores below.
Keep in mind, you have to be at least 21 to buy recreational cannabis. And you’ll need a valid government ID. So bring your driver’s license.
Q: How much marijuana can I purchase?
A: You can buy one ounce of adult use cannabis per day. If you’re a medical patient and have proper authorization from a doctor, you can buy up to 8 ounces per day.
Q: There are a lot of strains of marijuana. Will I be able to sample them at the marijuana stores?
A: You cannot smoke on the premises, or in most public places, especially those located near schools and day care centers.
Q: Can I have a delivery service bring recreational marijuana to my home?
A: Some stores say they plan to deliver recreational marijuana. But they’re still reviewing the rules.
Q: Is it legal to transport recreational marijuana in my vehicle?
A: Yes — provided that the container it comes in remains sealed. You should keep the cannabis in your trunk while it is being transported. And remember that you cannot transport cannabis across state lines, even to places like Nevada, where recreational marijuana is legal. It’s also illegal to transport marijuana into Mexico and Canada.
Q: Can I buy marijuana with a credit card?
A: No. The sale of cannabis is against federal law. That means that banks generally won’t do business with marijuana companies. So the stores are forced to operate as a largely cash-only business. Typically, you’ll find a cash machine at the store, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Q: Do the stores sell anything other than buds of marijuana?
A: Yes. Marijuana has been made part of everything from topical creams and tinctures to liquids and concentrates. You can also buy edible marijuana. Cannabis has been infused in candy, popcorn, ice cream, cookies, sushi, drinks — virtually anything you can think of.
You should be careful with edibles. Some people get high when there’s only a tiny amount of marijuana in food. Other people don’t get stoned unless there’s a significantly larger concentration.
And you should know that the effect of the marijuana doesn’t kick in until 30, 60, even 90 minutes after it is consumed. So go slowly. Give the marijuana time to take effect.
We also suggest that you don’t leave edibles laying around your home. Much of it comes in packaging that looks like any non-marijuana product. It would be easy for a person to make a mistake.
Q: This sounds kind of overwhelming. Where do I turn if I have a question?
A: Usually, the stores use “budtenders” to sell marijuana. These are people who are supposed to have an advanced understanding of cannabis. Many do. Some don’t. It can be hard to tell; budtenders aren’t required to go through a certification process. You may want to talk to more than one budtender.
If you feel that you don’t understand what you’re buying, don’t buy it.
LIST OF LICENSED RETAILERS
On January 1, 2018, licensed retailers will be permitted to sell recreational marijuana. The list below identifies the stores that were awarded medical marijuana licenses by the city of San Diego. All of these stores were expecting to receive a state license to sell recreational cannabis by January 1st. You may want to call ahead to make sure that they’re properly licensed to sell so-called adult-use marijuana.
Operating two stores, one of which just recently opened in Mission Valley, Apothekare boasts knowledgeable staff members, an extensive selection of premium flowers, edibles, extracts and accessories. Have questions? Check out the blog on the company’s website for video tutorials and other helpful articles like “A guide to getting high with the fam” during the holidays.
Kearny Mesa: 5125 Convoy St., 858.836.1303; Mission Valley: 3455 Camino Del Rio South, 619.701.6036, apothekare.com
Golden State Greens, Point Loma
Originally opened in 2015, it was only the second legally permitted medical marijuana dispensary within the city of San Diego. Back then, owner Adam Knopf said to The San Diego Union-Tribune, “We are committed to being good neighbors and will demonstrate that our business will have a positive impact.” The dispensary is located in an industrial area called Point Loma Patient Consumer Cooperative and it carries various strains of cannabis, extracts, cartridges, edibles, beverages, topicals, pre-rolls (joints) and miscellaneous gear.
3452 Hancock St., Midway District, 619.268.8035, plpcc.org
A Green Alternative
Established as a medical marijuana dispensary, A Green Alternative has been providing services with “the mission of creating professional, Safe-Access and lab-tested medical marijuana.” The dispensary offers various cannabis strains, CBD products, pre-rolls, concentrates, cartridges, extracts, edibles, drinks, tinctures, topicals and gear including rolling papers, batteries, grinders and eye drops.
2335 Roll Dr., #4, Otay Mesa, 844.665.0420, agreenalternative.org
Offers more than 100 strains and a range of CBD products, along with a variety of edibles, extracts and other accessories.
2405 Harbor Dr., Barrio Logan, 619.841.2045, harbormmcc.com
The Healing Center San Diego
Carries a variety of strains from Bread Farms in Southern California, cartridges, edibles, extracts, pre-rolls, topicals and merchandise. THCSD boasts “twice-tested” products to make sure they’re accurately labeled for potency, use of pesticides and presence of microbial bacteria. “If we won’t use it, we won’t sell it,” the website says.
3703 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley, 858.324.2420, thcsd.com
This dispensary touts customer empowerment by making products available in an open, explorative environment, rather than behind lock and key. Available on site are more than 40 vendors, various strains, extracts, edibles, topicals, grow seeds, pre-rolls and gear.
7128 Miramar Rd., Suite 10, Mira Mesa, 858.247.0953, mankindcoop.com
Southwest Patient Group
According to the dispensary website, “From Diego to the Bay, we’ve connected with the best geneticists, indo growers and champion extract artists that the world’s ever known.” Brands carried here include Kiva Confections, Moon Edibles, Alpine, Guerilla Farms, American Flower, Good Stuff Tonics and many more.
658 E. San Ysidro Blvd., San Ysidro, 619.663.6337, southwestpatientgroup.com
Permitted as a medical marijuana dispensary since 2015, Torrey Holistics carries products for all budgets and dietary restrictions, including organic, gluten free, vegan and non-GMO. To date the company has participated in multiple community events including raising more than $35,000 for Weed for Warriors Project benefiting veterans.
10671 Roselle St., Sorrento Valley, 858.558.1420, torreyholistics.com
The Tree House Balboa
In the space where the Balboa Avenue Cooperative medical cannabis dispensary was located, this shop offers multiple flower varieties, pre-rolls, various accessories including vaporizers, cartridges and rolling papers, Dr. Raw Organics edibles and products, pet products, glass pieces and cleaners, topicals, oils, drinks and more.
8863 Balboa Ave., Ste. E, Kearny Mesa, 858.598.5983, balboammc.webjoint.com
A high-end dispensary that focuses on sales of high-quality cannabis, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, CBD oils and infused beverages. The company’s website notes their knowledgeable staff and provides an online area called “Good Reads” to help educate consumers. The shop opened in March 2017 as a medical cannabis dispensary and recently was voted Best Cannabis Store Atmosphere in the Southern California area in the Dope Magazine Industry Awards.
1028 Buenos Ave., Morena, 619.275.2235, urbnleaf.com
Editor’s note: As of print time, only two locations had been granted state licenses, but all city-licensed locations were expected to receive state licenses by Jan. 1. To confirm a location is able to sell recreational marijuana, it is advised to call ahead.
San Diego Union-Tribune reporter David Garrick contributed to this story