Report From Oaksterdam: 'Scrip No Longer Needed To Buy Marijuana
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The cannabis-laced organic zucchini cake, so wholesome-sounding! And you can get it now without a prescription.
A few months ago, I wrote about a batch of cannabis caramel corn that a friend brought back from Oakland. She'd gotten it at a place she described as a recent Bay Area phenomenon: marijuana stores that sell their products on the sly, without all the rigmarole of prescriptions and state government oversight. They've gone underground in reaction to pressure by the Federal Government on growers and dispensaries, and in response to a laissez faire attitude on the part of the government of Oakland - which calls itself Oaksterdam in emulation of Amsterdam - and other municipalities. I had to check out the phenomenon for myself.
[See More: Our 10 Best Marijuana Stories]
The joints -- $10 each and elaborately packaged -- are available in 12 permutations. And you get to keep the plastic tube!
So last week I flew to the Bay Area and visited one of the stores. Though I can't reveal exactly where it is, or the name of the place, my friend took me to a nondescript storefront on a side street not far from downtown Oakland. Downstairs a small coffee bar sold the usual espresso beverages along with an exceedingly modest selection of pastries. It seemed like a front.
We walked past the java joint, down a narrow hallway, and up a darkened stairway to a landing, from which we could be see a lit doorway at the end of the big empty second floor. Inside, a gentleman of perhaps 60 with a handlebar moustache had planted himself behind a counter consisting of two glass cases. He introduced the products rather enthusiastically, rubbing his hands and smiling broadly. Had he been sampling his wares?
In the right case we spotted a dozen types of rolled marijuana cigarettes in garishly decorated cardboard-and-clear-plastic packaging, inside of which were long glass test tubes corked with plastic, each with a single perfectly rolled spliff inside. Some represented single strains of weed, some mixtures of various types, and still others fortifications of weed with kief or hash. The guy described some as "mellow and laid back" and others as "wild and speedy," pointing to each in turn.
The so-called "chill pill" was anything but.
Next: pot-laced chocolate bars
Dank Grasshopper? Not a very appetizing name
In the left case was a display of neatly arranged edible dosage forms, including lollipops, Jolly Rancher-style wrapped hard candies, chocolate bars, cupcakes with green icing and sprinkles, zucchini cakes, lemon pound cakes, individually wrapped candy lozenges that the guy described as "chill pills," pumpkin bread, and packages of flat wafers in multiples of five and ten, the most medicinal-seeming product of anything in the case.
Strangely, there were no brownies. Perhaps even more strangely, there were two types of Tabasco-style hot sauce. Prices ranged from $5 to $40. The dosages ranged from 33mg THC up to 345, though the latter was for multi-dose products like loaf cakes. Nevertheless, determining appropriate dosage was still somewhat dodgy. In fact, the guy behind the counter was a little disingenuous in the advice he gave to us. The "chill pills" he described as mild actually had the largest THC concentrations of any edible product in the place, and would have taken the tops of our heads off if we'd believed him. Very funny, dude.
With no medical complaints whatsoever, we tripped down the stairs with an armload of products.
For the chocoholic potoholic
Follow me on Twitter if you dare -- @robertsietsema
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