The newly-legal cannabis industry spent more than a decade incubating in the San Francisco Bay Area following the passage of Proposition 215, when a handful of cannabis revolutionaries (largely based around SF) passed a medical marijuana law in 1996. Hence, the dispensaries in this region are a direct testament to the skills Bay Area cannabis professionals have developed over that time.
Municipalities like Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley are not only home to some of the oldest cannabis clubs in the world, but also some of the oldest laws to govern the way they do business. Much of the time, pre-adult use legalization, these laws and policies were crafted by the dispensaries themselves with the help of progressive city council members and other civic leaders.
These storefronts have always been supported by a spread of the finest cultivators on the planet big and small, with everything from garages to warehouses, and greenhouses to outdoor grows, across the bay, and in surrounding areas, pumping out primo marijuana. For the last ten years that marijuana has been held to some of the highest accountability anywhere, as the cannabis lab testing industry started in Oakland with the founding of Steep Hill Lab.
Through all this, this group of dispensaries has risen to be among the top of the pack not just locally, but across America.
When not fighting and winning against the feds, BPG is renowned for its level of service and quality. It played home to one of the biggest January 1 parties California saw this past year for legal sales and after 20 years continues to be a model operation for the industry to follow. You can also see the results of the relationships they’ve built over that time on the shelves, all absolutely top notch.
The Excelsior District gem continues to find itself at the top of the pack in San Francisco. When it comes to bang for the buck, it’s hard to argue against The Green Cross taking the trophy. While the era of prepackaged marijuana has arrived, you’re still going to take home some of the best buds in the Bay for some of the best prices. Also be sure to check out their OG Kush options, they don’t play around!
Past the glitz and glam of the spotlight and reality TV shows, Harborside is an awesome dispensary, located in Oakland. For the last ten years, they’ve worked to present their version of what they think the standard should be for dispensaries across the land and it’s not too shabby. One could even say better than most. Founder Steve D’Angelo has worked hard to stock up on the wares of generational cultivation talent, which isn't as hard when you've spent decades in the game as he had before even opening the dispensary. Having graced the shelves of Harborside include fabled short-lived comets of the past decade like Pakistani landrace Pine Tar Kush and Durban Poison, the official strain of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Another member of the old guard, CBCB got its start as a co-op in the back of an anarchist bookstore before moving to its current location in 2009. For almost a decade, they’ve offered a curated selection of some great representations of the Purps, OG Kush, and a Pincher’s Creek pheno that smells suspiciously similar to Green Crack with a politically correct name. Also be sure to check out the Classic Trainwreck, arguably the best version of the strain left on the planet!
If you like awesome cannabis, fine woodwork, and a smoking lounge reminiscent of the Red Light District of San Francisco’s past (and without feeling scandalous), The Barbary Coast is absolutely for you. Not to mention, there's also a dab bar. Not only will it be one of the classiest joints you’ve ever light up in, but the options for what to put in it are top class. The selection of concentrates is also among the best in San Francisco, especially when it comes to the boss sauce.
Garden of Eden specializes in great pot with limited flare. Located in Hayward, GOE has consistently catered to the connoisseur class that didn’t feel like driving up to Oakland. The menu will always feature options you can bring to any gathering or party and know you’re packing the absolute heat. Keep an eye out for really exceptional Gelato phenotypes.
In the storefront attached to the uber-popular extract company, you can, of course, find a full spread to quench all your sauce, crystalline, and Wook Diamond needs. While our southernmost addition to the list may sound like it’s a bit dab-centric, that couldn't be further from the truth. Guild also offers a wide spread of flowers at reputable prices.
It’s unethical to talk about the best cannabis in the bay area without mentioning C.R.A.F.T. While they’re a delivery service and not a storefront, their trophy shelf puts 99 percent of dispensaries to shame, no problem. They’ve won the CBD category in the Cannabis Cup five times, and their sativas and hybrids have crushed, too. They're most enthusiastic about their Sour Girl, but it’s hard not to get excited about what may be the best Super Lemon Haze phenotype in America.