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Marijuana Dispensaries in San Francisco, CA

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    Marijuana Dispensaries in San Francisco, CA

    Cannabis Dispensaries in San Francisco, California

    San Francisco is the home of dozens of U.S. cannabis firsts: the first head shop in the country, the first effort to decriminalize cannabis, the first place medical professionals accepted cannabis as a valuable treatment, and more. Today, cannabis consumption here is as acceptable as ever, but there are a few laws and regulations that residents and visitors should know before beginning the hunt for their favorite San Francisco dispensary.

    Cannabis Laws to Know in San Francisco

    Overall, California has a relaxed attitude toward cannabis use — San Francisco leads the charge. The first San Francisco dispensary opened its doors in 1992, which is four years before California passed its first medical marijuana regulations and a full 26 years before any other city in the state gained an operational dispensary. Fortunately, San Francisco dispensaries are a bit more commonplace now that cannabis is fully decriminalized and recreational and medical marijuana has been legalized.

    Recreational and Adult-Use Cannabis

    San Francisco is subject to most of the recreational cannabis laws governing the rest of California, which were set in 2016. You don’t need to live in San Francisco to use recreational cannabis legally, but you do need to follow a few key rules. 

    In particular, only those aged 21 years or older are permitted to purchase, possess, and use recreational cannabis. At most, a recreational user can possess 1 ounce of dry flower or 8 grams of concentrates, and all cannabis purchases must be made from licensed San Francisco dispensaries.

    Medical Marijuana

    In San Francisco, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers clandestinely provided cannabis treatments to patients with severe disease as early as the 1980s. But technically, the city didn’t have a legal medical marijuana program until 2003, when California developed its medical marijuana identification card system. Today, each county sets the rules for their medical marijuana program, and the city of San Francisco’s is managed by San Francisco County.

    Medical users are permitted to purchase up to 8 ounces of dry cannabis every day, and they can possess up to 8 ounces at a time. Additionally, those under 21 are allowed to obtain a medical marijuana card, and minors can use weed medically, too, as long as they have an of-age caregiver.

    How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in San Francisco

    To obtain medical marijuana in San Francisco, you need to apply for a card through the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Applications are available online and require documentation of medical records, a written letter from a California-licensed doctor, proof of identity, and proof of residence in San Francisco. Additionally, you will need to pay a $100 processing fee. Often, a card is issued 10 business days after the submission of an acceptable application, but cards can take as many as 30 days to be delivered. After one year, medical marijuana cards need to be renewed, or they will no longer be valid.

    Where Is It Legal to Consume Cannabis in San Francisco?

    San Francisco does not legally allow users to consume cannabis in public spaces. Yes, you can even get in trouble for discreet outdoor consumption, such as if you are using methods like vaping or edibles which don’t produce the distinctive odor. Some dispensaries do permit consumption on premises, and San Francisco boasts a few cannabis lounges, where like-minded individuals gather to toke and socialize.

    It’s perfectly legal and safest to consume only in a private residence with the owner’s permission, so you likely won’t find it difficult to enjoy cannabis in San Francisco. Just take a rideshare after the party — you can store weed in a car, but you should never drive with an open container of weed, let alone operate a vehicle while under the influence. Doing so is dangerous and likely to land you in police custody, saddled with significant fines.

    Cannabis Cultivation Laws in San Francisco

    California law permits of-age adults to own six cannabis plants at home, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. San Francisco allows you to grow indoors or outdoors, as long as all cannabis crop is in an enclosed space that is neither viewable nor accessible by the public or by children. It should go without saying that home growers are not allowed to sell their cannabis, but they can give away as much as 1 ounce at a time.

    How to Buy Cannabis at a San Francisco dispensary

    Buying cannabis from a recreational San Francisco dispensary is as easy as making almost any retail purchase. You will need to bring your ID, and it is wise to carry sufficient cash to cover your desired cannabis products — plus a tip for your budtender. Dispensaries in San Francisco have no required hours of operation; most open sometime mid-morning, but others operate all night long. Many recreational dispensaries also serve medical marijuana customers, but medical marijuana–only dispensaries do exist.

    How Much Does Cannabis Cost in San Francisco?

    The typical price of a gram of dry flower from San Francisco recreational dispensaries is around $17, but some bargain-basement-quality cannabis is available for less than $10 per gram. Concentrates, edibles, and other specialty products tend to cost more.

    Cannabis Taxes in San Francisco

    California boasts some of the highest cannabis taxes in the country. Though medical users are subject only to a statewide sales tax of 7.25%, recreational users pay an additional 15% excise tax and local sales taxes, which in San Francisco amount to between 2.5% and 5%, depending on a retail dispensary’s earnings. Fortunately, all the tax income collected goes to important government projects, like environmental initiatives, infrastructure maintenance, anti-drug services, and more.

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