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Bay Area Cannasseur: Some dispensaries offer onsite consumption

by Sari Staver

SPARC retail director Robbie Rainin shows off a Volcano vaporizer. Photo: Sari Staver
SPARC retail director Robbie Rainin shows off a Volcano vaporizer. Photo: Sari Staver  

A rapidly growing number of cannabis dispensaries have opened lounges where adults can legally vape or dab, making the notion of meeting for a cup of coffee or a drink feel very old fashioned.

At the moment, there are eight locations in the city that have been approved for onsite consumption, according to Nicole Elliot of the city's Office of Cannabis.

The approved dispensaries are:
- Barbary Coast, 952 Mission Street, http://www.barbarycoastsf.org.
- Bloom Room, 471 Jessie Street, http://www.bloomroomsf.com.
- Love Shack, 502 14th Street, http://www.loveshacksf.com.
- Harvest, 4811 Geary Boulevard and 33 29th Street, http://www.harvestshop.com/.
- Re-leaf Herbal Cooperative, 1284 Mission Street, http://www.releafherbal.com.
- SPARC, 1256 Mission Street, www.sparcsf.com.
- Urban Pharm, 122 10th Street, http://www.up415.com.

Policies and regulations vary, but most prefer that you purchase your cannabis from them and have vaporizers or dab rigs they will loan you to use on the premises.

One of the most generous policies is at South of Market's SPARC, where patients are allowed to bring in their own medication and borrow one of the dispensary's vaporizers or dab rigs. SPARC is awaiting its license to serve recreational customers; currently it is only allowed to sell to medical patients.

Robbie Rainin, retail director of SPARC, told the Bay Area Reporter in a recent interview that the German-made Volcanoes available for use are considered the "Mercedes of vaporizers," retailing at over $600.

According to Rainin, consuming cannabis with a Volcano is a much more effective means of medicating, enabling someone to get 80-90 percent of the cannabinoids, while smoking, or combusting, yields approximately 20-25 percent of the cannabinoids.

"If you're not sure if you want to buy one, try it here first," said Rainin.

In the East Bay, lounges are expected to expand into cafes sooner than in San Francisco, where regulations currently prohibit them.

Elaborate plans are underway at Oakland's Magnolia Wellness, (161 Adeline Street, http://www.magnoliawellness.org.) where a cannabis cafe is set to open before 4/20, the unofficial pot holiday in April.

Magnolia general manager Katie Rabinowitz said that until the cafe opens, Magnolia members can vape or dab in the dispensary. Special events are held in the cafe, which is still under construction.

Once the cafe opens, Magnolia hopes to partner with food trucks or pop-up restaurants to provide food, while Magnolia will provide medicated condiments, salad dressings, and beverages. Thanks to its license to manufacture, the dispensary hopes to eventually sell its own line of infused products to go.

Magnolia also offers a broad range of classes and events. A cannabis book club is in the planning stages, Rabinowitz said.

"We want people to feel welcome here," she said. "You'll have home, work, and Magnolia."

Dennis Peron memorial
In other cannabis-related news, here's a reminder that the memorial and celebration of life for medical marijuana pioneer Dennis Peron will be held Sunday, March 11, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Flore, 2298 Market Street in San Francisco. Peron, a gay man, died January 27 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 71.

For the event, Noe Street will be closed to traffic and a big tent set up for an evening of music, memories, and images from Mr. Peron's life. Those who would like to donate can visit https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-for-dennis-peron.

For more information about the memorial, go to http://bit.ly/2GKWLWT.

Bay Area Cannasseur runs the first Thursday of the month. To send column ideas or tips, email Sari Staver at sari@bayareacannasseur.com.

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