My sister recently visited from New York, and was excited to see what an outlet for recreational marijuana looked like. Finding ourselves in San Francisco, we decided to drop in at Harvest, a pot shop on Geary Street near 11th Avenue.
To be honest, I’ve never set foot in a dispensary or recreational marijuana store before, and was curious about it myself. We drove by, and seeing a line at the door, I dropped off my sister and drove on to find a place to park; I found one a few blocks away. Walking up to the line, which by now had about one-dozen people in it, I joined my sister. At the door stood what I could only call a “bouncer”–a very, very large man who’s job it was to let customers into the shop.
The line slowly crept forward, and as we reached the front of the line, the “bouncer” explained that step one upon entering was to “register” at the desk; we then entered. We were told taking photos was not allowed. The place was filled with people, very loud music, and smelled, not surprisingly, of pot. We approached the registration desk and were asked for identification; my driver’s license was sufficient, though I will admit I have no idea why identification was necessary. Perhaps I look under-age.
In any event, after signing in, we each were given a small wire basket and told we could go anywhere in the store, but could not touch any product on the shelves. If we had questions, we were to ask one of the “sales associates” wearing a store T-Shirt to help us. My sister went to the left, and I moved to the right.
I must admit, seeing a store filled with cannabis product was a shock. In my youth pot was widely available but carefully kept under wraps; no so today. 2018 has wrought a commercial explosion of pot products the likes of which I never imagined. There were, of course, tins and containers of pot to smoke, all nicely labeled and packaged and listing the percentage of Sativa or Indica or a mix of both strains. Each strain had a catchy name; I imagine coming up with names is one of the most entertaining ways pot purveyors spend an afternoon.
But most striking were the other forms of cannabis-based products. Sure, there were the predictable cookies and brownie-like confections, all nicely packaged in attractive bags or tins. And gummies; I’d heard about gummies. But what really surprised me were all the products promoted and packaged as cannabis health products. Salves, ointments, rubs, skin creams, pain relievers–shelves and shelves of products packaged in droppers and jars of various sizes. Cannabis appears to be the new wonder drug that cures whatever ails you. Perhaps most surprising was the cannabis-infused soda. Orange-flavored, lime flavored, whatever (and using pure cane sugar) it comes in a pop-top aluminum can just like Coke or 7-Up.
Speaking for myself, I was too overwhelmed by the whole scene to buy anything. I dislike shopping in general, and pot shopping was not much better. My sister bought all kinds of stuff–pain creams and the like–and I hoped she would not get “popped” by airport security. So far, I’m pleased to report, no bail-bondsman has called me from New York.