California is Paving the Way for Global Cannabis Culture

There are a lot of solid stoner movies out there: Harold & Kumar Go To White CastleHalf BakedHow HighThe Big Lebowski and anything with Cheech Marin or Tommy Chong in it. There’s no shortage of great movies about the cannabis experience. And we can probably thank California for that. Why? Well, because California will always be the true home of cannabis culture since the marijuana legalisation movement has its roots there.

Related: The Top 15 Stoner Movies To Watch

But the best cinematic evaluation of the current weed landscape comes not from a stoner movie but from the John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

That’s a perfect description of the state of American cannabis culture over the past decade or so, particularly in states west of the Mississippi: While legalisation was a slow, generations-long process, the most recent changes in the weed marketplace happened so rapidly that it’s easy for users — especially new ones — to get overwhelmed.

And, while Colorado and Washington took the lead in decriminalising cannabis and making it widely available for recreational use, California will always be the true home of cannabis culture. Because, in many ways, California is where it all began.

Today, weed delivery in Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego is potentially just as easy as it is in smaller cities like Riverside, Sacramento or Eureka — largely because California has been at the forefront of marijuana legalisation and decriminalisation efforts since the 1970s. Companies like Grassdoor are paving the way toward a cannabis-fueled future, inspired and powered by California’s progressive past.

It all started in 1972, with CA Prop 19: The California Marijuana Initiative. This was the first attempt to legalise marijuana with a ballot measure in the history of the United States. It failed soundly, with only 33 percent of voters calling for cannabis legalisation. Prop 19 would have removed state penalties for the personal use of marijuana; it was a fairly straightforward effort and failed largely because of the social mores of the time.

But, as with many social movements, the failure of Prop 19 was only the first step toward a larger victory. A defeated ballot measure couldn’t stop the march of progress in California; cannabis had kept its economy afloat for generations, even after the decline of the timber and salmon industries. Its bold movement forward wasn’t about to be stopped even by something as powerful as democracy. However, it would be more than two decades before cannabis advocates would make any measurable progress towards legalisation.

In 1996, though, cannabis appeared on the ballot again, this time in the form of the Compassionate Use Act — aimed at legalising marijuana for medical use. It was passed with 56 percent of Californians voting in favour. Seven years later, the state legislature passed a second law requiring medical marijuana users to carry identification cards. These were simple to get — many doctors simply set up shops that charged users for a thirty-second ‘appointment’ that offered ID cards with few questions asked.

These laws whittled away at prohibition, making the arguments of cannabis legalisation opponents ironically prescient: If anyone can effectively get a dispensation to use cannabis for any reason, what’s the purpose of continuing to prohibit its use at all? While many users absolutely needed cannabis for conditions like cancer, AIDS and glaucoma, many others were obtaining medical cards for recreational use. From an enforcement standpoint, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference between a patient and a partier.

While a vote for the full legalisation of marijuana for recreational use was unsuccessful again in 2010, it was finally passed in 2016, leading cities like Los Angeles to become wonderlands of weed variety. While new businesses struggled for their spot on the marketplace with existing medical dispensaries, this meant little for users’ experiences. Today, LA’s weed scene is bustling, and, as such, it can be daunting for the new consumer.

Related: European vs American Cannabis Culture

For many of those new consumers, weed is just a product — ‘cannabis culture‘ doesn’t matter that much to most people, just like craft beer culture, wine culture or coffee culture. Most consumers just want a good product, but they’re not geeks about it. Fortunately, LA is a great place to learn, full of welcoming dispensaries and knowledgeable budtenders.

The experience of using cannabis is improving and becoming more consistent, as well as more tailored to users’ individual needs and tastes — from luxury cannabis products for the discerning consumer with cash to burn to more simple and affordable options for more casual users.

The best part: Weed delivery. Since marijuana legalisation happened concurrently with the gig economy, many dispensaries will deliver cannabis products straight to your door. Businesses like grassdoor.com come staffed with a fleet of mobile budtenders, who’ll not only deliver your weed but also advise you on it.

Again, though, cannabis culture and the weed marketplace can be intimidating, especially in places like California. So, when choosing a weed delivery service, be sure to keep three things in mind:

Speed. Nobody really says, ‘hey, I’d like to get high four hours from now!’ Cannabis users — especially medical marijuana users — have a real need for speed. However, dispensaries that deliver quickly are hard to find. Some will let your order sit for hours before responding, and that’s not even including transit time.

Others will abruptly cancel delivery orders with no explanation, leaving you in the lurch and needing to begin the shopping process all over again. Aim for a weed delivery service that will get the product to your door in under an hour.

Cost. Weed isn’t what most people would call cheap, so you want your dollar to stretch as far as it can. You might think the same product can be found for basically the same price across dispensaries, but you’d be surprised. Once you have a good idea of what you like — whether it’s edibles, flowers, pre-rolls, concentrates or anything else — shop around to find the best price.

Product. Variety is good. Finding a mobile dispensary with plenty of options is important. However, that same variety can be paralysing, so you may be better off finding a resource with a few high-quality options.

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