Bay Area Cannasseur: Holiday gift ideas abound for cannabis users
by Sari Staver
Gift shopping for the marijuana users – medicinal or otherwise – in your life?
Dozens of new products are on the shelves, from the ridiculous (14K gold rolling papers) to the sublime (a coordinated set of smoking utensils and accessories made from sustainably grown American Black Walnut and hand blown glass).
In between, there are gifts that are practical (an iPhone case that has space to carry a handful of joints), tacky (a gigantic penis shaped smoking pipe), and educational (books on everything from how to roll a blunt to how to grow your own pot).
On "Green" Friday, the Bay Area Cannasseur went shopping to preview the options available this year.
We began our expedition at the Apothecarium's new gift boutique, located inside its medical marijuana dispensary at 2029 Market Street, across from Safeway. While you still have to be a registered medical marijuana patient to shop at the dispensary, the boutique is open to the public, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Once inside, we sent an emergency text to Santa, asking him for one of the three-inch concrete and cork "flue" pipes by URB ($55), which are already sold out on the company's website but available here in pink, black, or gray.
The boutique has a dozen other handcrafted pipes (all under $100) as well as a two-pack of 14K gold rolling papers ($20). For big spenders, the boutique carries the classic German-made Storz and Bickel digital Volcano vaporizer ($600) considered the Rolls Royce of vaping hardware.
For shoppers who already have their medical marijuana paperwork in order, the options at the Apothecarium multiply, since you can also shop for flowers, edibles, and concentrates. For such people, Apothecarium general manager Chase Chambers suggested an Alchemy Holiday Wellness Pack, which includes a battery powered vaporizing pen with either two ($75) or four ($150) cannabis oil and botanical extract cartridges, packed in a reusable canvas carrying case. Chambers, a 32-year-old gay man, pointed out that proceeds from the sale of wellness packs benefits Friends Outside, an organization that supports families of people who are incarcerated.
Chambers, who worked at Peet's prior to switching from the coffee to the cannabis industry, also pointed out one of his favorite pieces of Apothecarium swag, a vacuum-sealed glass storage container to keep your flowers at maximum freshness for $15. "The same way people should store coffee," he said.
Chambers also said shoppers can buy cannabis themed wrapping paper ($20 per roll) as well as cannabis holiday cards ($7-$10) which include an attached plastic case which can hold a couple of buds. Chambers said the Apothecarium was finalizing its plans to offer gift-wrapping and delivery for the holidays.
Boutique manager Marcella Sanchez, a 32-year-old lesbian, said for those with a flexible budget, an item from the newly arrived Marley Natural collection would be one of her top choices. Marley Natural has a line of over a dozen smoking accessories, ranging in price from $35 to $162, all crafted from sustainable American Black Walnut and hand blown glass.
For those on a budget looking for an LGBT-themed gift, Butch and Sissy have made enamel lapel pins ($10) with a cannabis leaf in rainbow flag colors. The company will also be making Apothecarium logo pins that will be on sale during the holidays, she said.
If the Apothecarium is too upscale and trendy for you, stroll down to the Twilight Zone, the neighborhood smoke shop at 237 Church Street, where you'll find hundreds of pipes, made of every imaginable shape, size, and material, including a selection of penis shaped pipes, from $29.95 and up. The store also carries lots of smoking paraphernalia, including rolling papers, pipe cleaners, ashtrays, and storage containers. Twilight Zone is open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
If your gift recipient is a bookworm, you'll find a wide range of used books on cannabis right next door at Aardvark Books, 227 Church Street, open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
While there are dozens of more up-to-date cannabis books published this year, available on Amazon, we found many unusual titles of vintage cannabis books.
Some of those that we'd be thrilled to find under our tree include:
● Spliffigami: Roll the 35 Greatest Joints of All Time by Chris Stone ($6.50);
● Pot Culture: An A to Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life by Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom ($5);
● Official High Times Pot Smokers Handbook, featuring 420 things to do while you are stoned by David Bienstock ($9.50);
● How to Roll a Blunt for Dummies by R. Prince ($6.50);
● Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine by Lester Grinspoon, M.D. ($8.50);
● Romancing Merry Jane: A year in the life of a failed marijuana grower by Michael Poole ($7.50);
● Weed-O-Pedia: A totally dank A-Z Reefer Reference by Will B. High ($7.50);
● Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier by Emily Brady ($7.50).
There are also a handful of cannabis cookbooks, from $6.50 up.
And for those of you reading this column and are prevented from going out shopping because you are suffering from a serious case of "couch lock" (i.e. super stoned), you'll find thousands of other cannabis-related gifts online.
One that we liked very much was an iHit iPhone 6 case, on sale for $20.99 at http://www.GrassCity.com.
According to the website, the case looks and functions like an ordinary phone case, but also features a removable odor free storage compartment that is designed to hold up to five pre-rolled smokes or a package of your rolling papers, "perfect for parties, concerts, and festivals."
Bay Area Cannasseur runs the first Thursday of the month. To send column ideas or tips, email Sari Staver at firstname.lastname@example.org.