Recreational marijuana sales have been legal in California for a full year now, but some people in communities where commercial dispensaries have been banned do not have easy, reliable access to legal products. That is going to change now that a new regulation was enacted to officially allow home deliveries throughout the Golden State, even into the areas where retail dispensaries are not permitted to operate.
The new rule, handed down from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, clarifies what was set forth when voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016. Proposition 64 allows local governments to decide whether commercial marijuana shops are allowed in each district, but it does not give them the power to “prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads.”
Until now, delivery companies operating legally within an approved area, for example, have not been willing to deliver outside of the district in which they operate for fear of prosecution.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is simply clarifying that cannabis may be delivered to “any jurisdiction within the state of California,” as long as it is transported by a person with a valid operating license. “The public spoke loud and clear in favor of statewide delivery,” cannabis bureau spokesman Alex Traverso said in a statement.
Those in Favor
Consumers and cannabis delivery companies have been fighting for the right to make and receive home deliveries since so many areas of the state chose to ban retail dispensaries. Consumers are left without local shops from which to make purchases. All residents have the legal right to buy marijuana, but so many are effectively cut off from being able to exercise that right.
Police chiefs were reportedly among those against the rule permitting home deliveries. According to critics, this will open a new space for black market transactions, decreasing or even eliminating the state’s regulations on product quality as well as collection of tax dollars.
A Republican congressman in the midst of an especially challenging reelection race took time on Tuesday to accompany a literal busload of elderly citizens on a visit to a marijuana store.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who is one of Congress’s leading proponents of cannabis reform, is the lead sponsor of a successful amendment that prevents the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.
But he might not be around on Capitol Hill next year to champion the measure’s extension if Democratic challenger Harley Rouda has his way. Several polls heading into next month’s election have shown the two running neck and neck.
But that didn’t stop the GOP incumbent from a trip to the local marijuana dispensary. Or perhaps the move was all part of the Rohrabacher campaign’s effort to remind voters of his cannabis accomplishments in Congress.
Either way, several journalists went along for the ride and documented the congressman’s weed field trip.
Caught up with Republican Rep Dana Rohrabacher, who is in a tight race for his seat, as he rode a bus with seniors to a marijuana dispensary in Southern California. Here he is explaining to seniors that marijuana laws should be left up to the states. pic.twitter.com/pN8y3M2IdQ
Rep. @DanaRohrabacher (R-CA-48) talks to senior citizens about medical marijuana, which he says he backs because of his belief in freedom, and his compassion for those suffering. Vendors explain their products to customers, some trying marijuana for the 1st time @budandbloomclubpic.twitter.com/jC5GiS6ddz
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the first time Donald Trump said something that was actually true, if he said he'd leave us alone on our marijuana decriminalization?" Watch Gov. @JayInslee on last night's #RTOvertime: 420 Edition. pic.twitter.com/6J9oxEKJEU
This new study of all 50 states shows California is ranked second (behind Hawaii) in life expectancy of its residents. California also has one of the lowest rates of dying young. https://t.co/4yD79OGdCl
And let's not forget: California has Disneyland, Yosemite & amazing cannabis
California, the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis back in 1996 and famous for its rich growing history in the Emerald Triangle, has long been a mainstay and exporter of culture surrounding the cannabis plant.
This rich history has led to an incredibly large sector of their state’s economy. California’s cannabis market hit $6.7 billion in sales in 2016, more than every other adult use cannabis market in the United States combined.
According to New Frontier Data’s market projections released earlier this year, they expect California’s medical cannabis market to be worth $2.4 billion by 2021 and their adult use market to be worth $3.9 billion by the same year.
California has always been a powerhouse when it comes to consumption and cultivation of weed, but who exactly are the consumers powering the demand? What are their preferences, age, gender, annual income, interests? How do brands create and market products to their end users if they don’t really know anything about them? Can we extrapolate data about California cannabis consumers to consumers in other states?
When it comes to cannabis consumers, these questions have largely gone unanswered. For decades, the plant was bought and sold through black market channels, serving a demand but unable to create the infrastructure to understand it, thanks to state and federal law.
But as the cannabis industry develops, more and more pertinent data is being gathered about the people who prop up this multibillion dollar industry…and the results might not be what people expect of “stoners”.
Who are California cannabis consumers?
A survey conducted in California received 10,000 user responses, and their findings challenge stoner stereotypes of a previous time.
Some of the most significant findings to uncover the reality of who cannabis consumers are, versus stereotypes held about them, include:
32% of respondents were female, with 59% of females consuming cannabis every day.
51% of respondents hold a degree or postgraduate degree, made even more significant because only 39% of California residents hold the same level of education.
91% of respondents hold a full-time job, employed in a wide variety of industries, with technology leading all at 19%. Of the vast majority of respondents with full-time employment 58% consume cannabis everyday.
49% of respondents have an annual household income exceeding $75,000. The income bracket of $100,000-$149,000 was the most common annual household income of respondents.
One in five respondents are parents, and 63% of parents surveyed consume cannabis daily.
What aligns nearly all 10,000 respondents? Rallying around the idea of “reduc[ing] or replac[ing] alcohol and pharmaceutical consumption to find natural relief and enjoyment from marijuana.”
These findings show that the average daily cannabis consumer is concerned about their general wellness, gainfully employed, and making an annual household income above the national average, and many are parents.
We know these findings challenge the stoner stereotypes held by those who have a serious misunderstanding of cannabis consumers, but it also challenges marketing norms in the cannabis industry.
These findings show the need for mature marketing efforts that diverge (but can still pay credence to) an outdated era of cannabis. Cannabis brands looking to expand their market share should especially focus on marketing towards female consumers, who are often left out.
These respondents included wellness-conscious individuals who are interested in cannabis products that are sophisticated and safe, and cannabis brands would be wise to align themselves with these customers. Simple examples of this in practice include edible companies making products using organic, healthy food items like granola or dried fruit, rather than sugary cookies and other baked goods; making vape pen cartridges and other concentrates without harmful chemicals and additives; or complying with and communicating strict lab testing protocols to ensure a safe product, even if their state guidelines lack the rigidness.
The cannabis consumer of today is far different than what many would expect. If cannabis brands don’t pay close attention to the incoming data about these consumers and act accordingly, they will lose out to the brands that do.
I arrived at Moonlit Moveable Feast just as the sun slid behind a boulder-covered hill on the far horizon of a vast desert landscape—turning the sky cotton-candy pink and bathing the rust-red terrain all around me in a truly glorious quality of light. Such celestial splendor and near psychedelic plays of perspective have been drawing artists, prophets and spiritual seekers to Joshua Tree for many thousands of years, typically in pursuit of some deeper connection to themselves or a higher state of consciousness.
After a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, however, I’d shown up with the far more more humble goal of experiencing what promised to be a next-level milestone in the lately booming world of cannabis-infused fine dining. The location was certainly both remote and majestic—right at the edge of the 800,000 acre national park in Southern California. And the weather couldn’t have been finer—not too hot, with the gusting winds that had made the trek out something of an adventure abating just in time for a postcard perfect evening.
(EPK Vision photos/Provided to MassRoots)
But still, I strived to lower my expectations. These events have a tendency to underwhelm. Don’t get me wrong, as a dedicated cannabis journalist since 2002, I’m thrilled that such a thing as pot-infused fine dining can even exist, and all the more so when I’m lucky enough to hop along for the ride. My roots in this scene stretch deep enough that I remember when upscale society uniformly looked down on cannabis culture, and almost every story I wrote was about a heart-breaking drug bust, the latest government propaganda against medical cannabis, or parents losing their kids over a minor marijuana bust.
All of which still goes on, of course—all too often, and in far too much of the world.
The War on Weed, no doubt, was busy tearing a hole in someone’s life at the very moment I cued up for a what proved to be an extremely pleasant evening of sun-grown organic cannabis tastings and locavore-inspired THC-infused gourmet delights. All thoroughly enjoyed amid the convivial company of a few dozen fellow herbal enthusiasts lucky enough to live in the land of legalization. The upshot being that while it’s easy to feel a little weird about partaking in a high-end weed event—largely attended by energetic young entrepreneurs striving to build their own pot brands—while our brothers and sisters rot in prisons around the world for growing or distributing the very same plant, I also think it’s important and encouraging to see this culture flourish in unexplored directions and reach many new influential people. Just so long as we remain inclusive, and retain our shared values.
Without naming any names, certain disappointing weed dinners in the past have missed the mark in two key ways:
One, by condescendingly presuming that so long as guests get to smoke pot freely, a shoddy presentation will be overlooked by those who don’t know any better than Cool Ranch Doritos scarfed in a friend’s basement.
Secondly, by striving so hard to avoid “tired old stereotypes” that a weed dinner becomes something stilted and unimaginative. Or worse still, making guests sit through long “sponsor presentations” that turn a meal into an inescapable weed infomercial.
(EPK Vision photos/Provided to MassRoots)
Gratefully, my misgivings about this particular event dissipated almost immediately upon arrival, largely because of the obvious thought, care and attention-to-detail provided by organizers Mary Jane University, as part of their High Dining Series. And also due to the inherently groovy vibe emanating from every hidden corner of the venue—an artist’s studio, gallery and creative retreat center run by pedigreed local weirdo Bobby Furst.
Bobby Furst (EPK Vision photo/Provided to MassRoots)
Full of “found objects” transformed under Furst’s able hand into site-specific art installations, the desert compound brought the creativity-enhancing powers of cannabis to the forefront, making us all feel like properly freaky Bohemians, and offered endless small treasures to discover while wandering the grounds. A journey that began with a welcome cocktail—a refreshingly understated mint julep made with cannabis-infused rye, mint-infused simple syrup, and a splash of seltzer. The rye was infused by steeping buds in the booze for ten days while refrigerated, a method that produces little psychoactivity while still providing the medicinal benefits of THC in its acidic form (THC-A).
And oh yeah, out in the dryness of that desert, it tasted like sipping on a cold whisky-laced oasis.
(EPK Vision photo/Provided to MassRoots)
Guest arrival was planned to allow a generous couple of hours to mingle before dinner, so event organizer Barbie Sommars lead me on a tour of the premises, pointing out everything from an organized cannabis tasting, to a performance space (where Divasonic emitted live flute and chanting that paired well with the landscape and the moment), a hookah lounge, an airstream with Tarot card readings, tea service, and a strange kind of telescope that makes sounds out of the light of the stars and the moon (more on that later).
Divasonic (EPK Vision photo/Provided to MassRoots)
“I have a strong impulse to people connect with the cannabis plant in a deeper way than just buying it in a baggie or a plastic jar at a dispensary,” Sommars, who lives nearby in Joshua Tree, explained. “For this event, I wanted to create a sort of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ experience where you can interact with some of the incredible artists and innovators that call this place home, and also experience activations from the top cannabis brands in California.”
Joining a small group already seated at the weed smoking station, I started with an immersive study of the evening’s featured strains, provided by Hummingbird Medicinals, Humboldt Brothers, and Redwood Roots—three of Northern California’s premiere craft cannabis farms. Set up as a blind tasting, and organized by cannabis lifestyle brand The Emerald Exchange, I assessed each offering on taste, smell, finish, and effect, then tried to guess the varietal. The winner (not me) got free tickets to the next Emerald Exchange event in Malibu, while the growers got some invaluable objective feed-back. And we all worked up a healthy appetite.
(EPK Vision photo/Provided to MassRoots)
Dinner was served outdoors at a long communal table just as the full moon appeared on the horizon. Sommars noted the infusions in the food were meant to enhance more than intoxicate.
“I like to keep the edible doses low, and then make sure we provide plenty of flowers for those with higher tolerance.” She said. “Otherwise people can easily eat too much, especially those who are new to all this and really need to have a positive first experience.”
Chef Eduardo Pineda began the meal with a “hibiscus high desert salad,” featuring arugula, organic Medjool dates, pickled shallots, goat cheese, cannabis leaves, and hemp seeds dressed in a lemon hibiscus vinaigrette infused with Awaken Topicals raw cannabis tincture. Followed by a pasta course of rabbit ragu (or mushroom ragu) with fresh cannabis and basil leaf fettuccine infused with Can O’ Budder ghee. Cleaning both plates meant ingesting approximately 6-8 milligrams of THC, a very pleasant dosage I usually liken to having 1 and 1/2 glasses of wine—definitely enough to feel a mild buzz, but not so high as to send someone wandering off into the desert, lost and alone.
(Puff Puff Pass Co photo/Provided to MassRoots)
After dinner I allowed that recommended dosage to take hold while taking in a performance from local musicians The Blank Tapes. Asked to provide a slightly trippy instrumental soundtrack for the festivities, they tapped directly into the funky compound-in-the-desert’s essence. And in a lovely bit of synergy, the performance space also housed the dessert bar, where I obtained a freshly scraped prickly pear granita with candied Buddha’s hands and pickled tamarind infused with Guild Extracts crystalline CBD. Then I chased it with a couple of high-end confections from To Whom It May, makers of hand-crafted cannabis-infused truffles and bonbons.
The Blank Tapes (Puff Puff Pass Co photo/Provided to MassRoots)
Last stop, trying to figure out what’s going on with that giant telescope looking device.
A small crowd had gathered around to listen to the sounds of the cosmos, which oscillated from high-pitched, to screechy, to downright ethereal. I sidled up and asked the machine’s inventor to tell me how it works.
(EPK Vision photo/Provided to MassRoots)
“The piece is called the Sirens, based of the sirens from the Odyssey,” explained inventor Kyle Simon. “It takes in light from the moon, or planets, or stars, and through set of oscillators that make it audible for us.
At which point, the evening blissfully hit peak weird.