10 things that suck about recreational marijuana in California, and how to beat ’em

Not everyone is clapping about California’s rather awkward step into legalized adult marijuana use. Sure, anyone over 21 can go get a joint now — provided you can find a dispensary, are willing to wait in line, have lots of money and aren’t particularly worried about quality. Those of us who’ve enjoyed the somewhat casual medical markets over the years are now screeching in horror at what’s happening to our beloved cannabis industry and favorite dispensaries. The horror. The HORROR. We’ll get over it, but meanwhile, here are our top 10 things to hate about recreational marijuana in California as well as how to beat them. Bah. Humbug.

10. Lines: Waiting five minutes to get in to a dispensary is fine. Waiting 45 minutes with a bunch of folks who are going to spend another half hour trying to decide which $10 preroll to buy? No flipping way. Beat it: Order online for pickup and laugh at the fools in line. 

9. Amounts: One ounce per day or 100 mg limit on edibles? For medical patients, that’s laughable. Fortunately, a prior medical recommendation should get you the 8 ounce, over 100mg limit. If you’re adult use, you’ll likely have to make more visits — no more stocking up and pay, pay, pay. Beat it: Medical cards are your best bet.

8. Sight unseen and unsmelled products:
That familiar skunky smell of dispensaries is history. No longer can budtenders open jars of bud for a whiff, or closer inspection. From flowers to expensive concentrates, everything is pre-packaged with child and tamper-proof lids, meaning no more visual inspections or sniffs of those lovely terpenes. Budtenders literally have to explain it to you: “It’s sort of like, well, like sort of smooth. And it smells like pine and it made me want to eat cinnamon toast.” Um. Thanks?
Beat it: Find a great budtender? And write to your elected representatives.

7.  There’s hardly anywhere to buy recreationally: There are three licensed recreational dispensaries in Sonoma County, and only about 400 in the state, mostly in Southern California. Santa Rosa currently has no adult use dispensaries. Oakland, Berkeley and Santa Cruz have a few, but San Francisco has none, so far. Beat it: Go medical.  And write to your elected representatives.

6. State Issued Medical Marijuana Identification Cards: The only “medical” cannabis card that will afford you a tax break are state-issued and cost about $100 to acquire. New MMIC recommendations must come from a primary care doctor, then submitted and approved by the state health department. Though there are promises of protection, you’re telling the state of California you’re a user of a federally illegal drug. That list is like catnip to people who don’t want marijuana to be legal. You’re also going to be in real hot water if you have guns, since there’s a federal mandate against using drugs and operating or owning guns. Beat it: Don’t get a state MMIC.

5. No one really knows what’s going on: With so many grey areas, emergency changes, unclear documentation, unclear rules and eagerness to cash in on cannabis, it’s safe to say that pretty much no one in the business of cannabis really knows exactly what’s going on. Nor do regulators, lawmakers, attorneys, producers, dispensary owners or journalists. There’s no road map, and we’re all just bumbling along day by day. Beat it: Ask at least 5 people for answers to any question. Average out the answers and you may be close. But probably not.

4. Overly packaged packaging:
It took me five minutes to figure out how to open the bag my weed came in today. It took my husband another ten, and then we looked at the diagram and still couldn’t figure it out. The amount of new packaging is staggering, with the  need for disclaimers, safety warnings, tamper-proof and child-proof packaging and frankly, adult-proof packaging. We’re all for keeping pets and kids safe, but when it takes 20 minutes just to open a bag and another five to go through unnecessary layers of additional packaging, that just seems like overkill. Beat it: Reuse your exit bags (which will cost about $2) because you’ve already figured them out. Be sober when you try to open the package. Make sure you already have a safe spot for your stash, because you’ll want to throw all that other junk in the garbage once you’re home.

3. California is now a bigger fatter target for Washington: Coincidence that Atty. General Jeff Sessions killed the Cole Memo just four days after California went recreational? Hardly. Whether its saber rattling or a real attempt to prosecute in legalized states, the whole thing is a major buzzkill. Beat it: The best way to resist is to educate. Here’s what California Atty. General Xavier Becerra had to say to  the haters: “In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis. We intend to vigorously enforce our state’s laws and protect our state’s interests.” So there.

2. Taxes: We knew they were coming, but a 25 percent tax on cannabis is can hit you like a sucker punch in the gut. There’s the 15 percent state excise tax in addition to county and city taxes ranging from 8 to 10 percent. Some dispensaries build in the cost to the product, others show you the terrifying number — like $46.98 on a $187 purchase. Expect that more folks will want a piece of the pie moving forward. We’ll have more coverage of this ongoing issue next week. Beat it: Just close your eyes and think of England. And write to your elected representatives.

1. Weed just got more expensive than gold: Gone are the days of great, artisanal, cheap Northern California weed. Because unless you’re willing to buy a pre-roll, you’re going to pay dearly for that 1/8th. We saw our favorite vape concentrate go up in price almost $20 since Jan. 1 (before tax). A $60 eighth was once rare, and is now pretty much the norm, with $70 and $80 eighths common. Prerolls are $10 to $20 for a single joint, and concentrates are almost prohibitively expensive, running at $55 per eighth up to $225 or more, and the once-cheap vape cartiridges ($30) are now $50 to $85. Gold, by comparison, is abotu $41 per gram. So do the math. Beat it: Grow your own.

  • polyesterday

    Grow your own or start a collective on the side.
    I don’t smoke but F the government pulling this crap.

    • Lilly


  • Left Unsaid

    Why I voted against legalization. The govt was sure to Eff it up and they have.


      Exactly, no policy guy here too.

  • Davis Lawson

    and now the stoners complain….typical


      As if all Stoners agree on the same things in life…… Dave Lawson needs to get stoned, it may make him reconsider how stupid his comment is…….

  • Heather Irwin

    It’s complicated.


      Only because politicians got involved.


    This author does not know much at all…….and it is validated with the “cheap” weed claim……artisanal weed in norcal was over 5k per pound because it was not cheap…….sure, not everyone grows quality, but to write “cheap” as it relates to artisanal is a double decker doof moment…..

    • eyeheart

      It ain’t been 5k a lb for 2 decades


        You are incorrect as it relates to norcal artisinal culture, but the price dropped significantly starting 3 years ago because of permit fiasco and prior to that the price dropped but came back up during the year the economy dumped in 2000’s due to mbs, cdo frauds…..get the facts straight…….speak to folks in the know, not reading tabloid table salt that is only misinformation……


          And he used to be a simple person not a business not a big wig but just trying to survive who would buy that pound the 5000 or just under in order to sell eight for $5 more per 8th in order to make something off the time and trouble of dealing with the pound of weed at $5,000 give or take…… So now the little guy gets cut out of the picture in favor of brick and mortar businesses…… Let that sink in folks when the government starts talking out the side of its asshole that it cares about people, especially the people who have the least in society and still use their own long-term earnings to speculate in order to survive because the businesses don’t pay employees enough money to make working for a business worth their time…… So enter government to create a Fiasco to make it worth the time for a potential employee…….. Couldn’t do it if Growers are still making 5000 per pound… .

    • So you grow “artisinal weed” huh? So basically you are mad you have to pay taxes now? Please take some time to remember the grammar you were taught in school. To end a sentence, you only need 1 period. To use “ellipsis” correctly, you only need 3 dots. It is very difficult to read and makes it seem like you have smoked too much weed to be able to have a coherent thought.

      Also if you were selling pounds for 5k, you’re an asshole or you are selling it across state lines. Been smoking for over 15 years and never has it been that price, unless you were selling to people out of state. I am sorry your untaxed cash crop is gone, maybe smoke some weed, it will help you relax…maybe.


        You got no game……instead of deflecting the conversation to different topics, focus on what was written as fact that ANY PERSON PAYING ATTENTION TO GRASSROOTS SOCIAL POLITICS would concur with…….

        You had no intention to sincerely communicate facts, but write like a government mole……

  • Tim Hope

    So this is a surprise? Every time the issue of legalization of MJ has come up, the proponents chant, “if it’s legal, the government can tax it and regulate it.” That was one of the selling points. So now that the government is keeping their promise to tax it and regulate the product, the proponents of legalization are upset?

    • theseeker1111

      You make me think of supervisor Rabbit- “Cannabis doesen’t deserve any special treatment- it should be treated like any other business”…as he votes to tax and regulate it unlike ANY other business, while also ignoring that for 2 decades the state and counties failed to do their job- forcing an industry to be built without access to normal government services (permitting, fish & wildlife, the waterboard, police protection… ) nor access to banks and other financial services such as insurance and loans.
      The mafia would be proud of this new protection racket… taxes higher then any product except possibly tobacco. And far over-reaching regulations… tobacco, alcohol, and in many aspects- even prescription drugs are not regulated as heavily as cannabis currently is.


      You need a real education on the topic:

      1) Some growers are for greed
      2) Some sellers are for greed
      3) permits/policy/legalization was only endorsed by brick and mortar types

      A) Mom and Pop growers are not connected to gubbamint or brick and mortar operations

      B) Decriminalization, not legalization……decriminalization affords the mj culture a more free from taxation process, but what gubbamint endorses free markets…..lol

      C) legalization to smoke versus food versus topical, etc………proponents to legalize are far from all in the same boat……

      D) Anti Policy types warned crime would increase significantly if policy was created…….. criminals don’t have it as easy in the black market going around ripping off growers who lay liw and quiet, no permits, inspections, traffic, public listings of permit holder personal information, etc….rip off thieves can plot there future crimes…..

  • eyeheart

    Grow your own. If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow weed. Blue Dream is a great producing, easy to care for, high potency strain perfect for beginners.


      Agree with gyo mindset……no policy guy here….. decriminalize and enforce public intoxication…….

      • #Indivisible

        “Enforce public intoxication” says the big government nanny statist.


          Well ya, duh….. don’t need to support gubbamint taxation on responsible growing or consumption……

  • 1946vet

    Lake County Medical Marijuana Collective may be able to help you.

  • Judi

    Am I supposed to feel sorry for you? That you can’t smoke all the weed you want? Marijuana is a drug, just like alcohol is a drug. You are suggesting getting a fraudulent medical marijuana card to beat the system. Why don’t you just use your old dealers? I don’t have a problem with folks smoking mj, but I hate that it has been normalized. I hate that my kids and I had to get bombed with mj smoke as we were going up a ski lift in Tahoe. To me, people who need to get high (or drunk) every day have a real problem. What are you trying to escape? Try taking a walk in nature to relax yourself.


      Fraud is not using MJ for medical/health needs……the fraud is taxation and doctors getting paid for something the patient is qualified to self determine…….

      Weed does have health benefits……….


      To me, nosey 👃 pickers have the bigger self issues…….trying to live through others and pushing their opinions as diety fact…….


      Agree on normalization, but the rest of the rant was inconsequential and baseless…….and turn in the smokers on the ski lift for breaking a law…….no pot smoking in public…….business could lose its operational license until an implementation plan shows dope is not present during operations……happens on golf courses too…..

      • Hatched-in-52

        I don’t smoke Pot. However I really enjoy when people do around me. I just love the smell. And now with all the disffrent types , there is such a great variety of different smells. How can one not like it ? Its medicine. Cant argue the facts.


          Don’t care what people do for their personal use as long as the environment isn’t being abused nor people harassed, arrested for arbitrary rubbish……….

          And certainly don’t want government to benefit from a plant that every person on God’s green earth has a right to consume however they choose……

          Policy types just want the money and that’s all it is greed……

          Personal types just want to be left alone cuz they’re not doing anything wrong…….

          Criminal types need to be busted for abusing the environment but the government’s too chickenshit to do anything cuz they fear losing votes……

  • Betterwithbutter

    How about destroying the already waning work ethic our young people. And the legions of stoned drivers killing people on our highways. Oops, High Times, err I mean The Press Democrat forgot to include those. How convenient.


      No stats on killer stoned drivers, poor attempt at fake news…….


      Work ethic has been lost mainly due to social technology…..facebook, twitter, you tube, smartphones, video games, etc………you betcha!

      What does dope Got to Do With It Got to Do with It what is dope but a second hand emotion….. What’s dope got to do Got to Do with It…….

      Worry about yourself…….

  • GoldenGirl

    How about the fact that this stuff just stinks. I have neighbors on 3 sides that smoke this stuff all the time. And of course their friends are over and they’re smoking this stuff and they get louder and louder when they do. My whole yard reeks all the time. Just disgusting. What about my rights to not have a yard that stinks that I can actually use. You can’t smoke cigarettes that stink and are a hazard to one’s health just any place you want. There are laws to protect the rest of us. Where are the laws to protect us from the stink of this stuff that makes our yards unusable ?.

    • Stoned people normally don’t get louder and louder when they smoke more cannabis. People smoking in their backyards is one of the only areas you are allowed to smoke. All cigarettes stink, not sure why you think some do and some don’t. Cannabis only “reeks” when you smoke it, what you are smelling is the actual plant growing, or the flowers being dried. Both cases, you have growers in your neighborhood and good luck finding who.


      Stink, noise versus your noises and your impacts others may not like……slippery slope……

      Enter segregation…….move to where more of your clan live………. segregation has its benefits……..

      Human laws fail as More Humans populate…….. get it and learn, society is a hoax…….

    • gtfohsrpd

      they could go outside and smoke cigarettes and you could smell it all day and night, whats the difference, at least cannabis has a more pleasant smell than cigarettes, if you’re smoking the right stuff., you can’t smoke cannabis just any place you want either. What protects us from “Sonoma Aroma” , if you cant USE your yard because of a smell outside, you’ve got bigger issues to deal with than cannabis.

    • Tina Momsen Ellwanger

      What about people with lung problems and allergies? Don’t we have wrights


    • reason > id

      11. Non-smokers are getting smoked-out. Smoke cigarettes in the house over no one can tell if you’re inside. Smoke weed and everybody’s smoking. “Beat it: make people eat it, or send them on a hike.”


    Policy is bad, legalization is stupidity……. decriminalize dope and be done with the front end politics……you can still punish abusers under so many existing laws, but politicians would actually lose votes to angered voters who fall victim to silly enforcements…….

  • Carrie

    No need to pay the ridiculous prices or stand in line. Stick to your black market grower. They aren’t going anywhere.

  • Mortie Rabb


  • JoeCommentor

    Where is brand and trademark protection in the law? How do you know ‘lemon curl’ (or whatever) is actually ‘lemon curl’? Is it the same at the store the next town over?

    Why aren’t people required to prove genetics for a brand/type?

    Who is legally responsible for protecting me? Who is liable for fraud?

    Please answer, Heather.

  • gtfohsrpd

    “So do the math. Beat it: Grow your own.” – lol – well ya cant cause its outlawed since sonoma county thought it was such a great idea to zone everything out of rural areas and into industrial warehouses and commercial ag property.