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My First Time Buying Legal Weed was Awesome!

We partnered with Shambhala MCC for this story. It’s our favorite dispensary in the Mission because it’s locally owned, fully licensed, and has some of best recreational weed in the city. Stop by and say “Broke-Ass Stuart sent me” and get $25 eighths until March 15th!


Hooray! It’s finally here! Any 21 year-old with cash and a state ID can legally buy weed now. No need for a special medical card and no weird government databases collecting your information. It’s as easy as buying a six-pack of beer at a corner store. What a glorious time to be alive!

Pillows from heaven.

When I was a teenager I LOVED weed. It was my hobby, my extracurricular activity. My friends and I would roll around San Diego smoking pot, while we looked for cool places to smoke more pot. We went on all kinds of ridiculous adventures, giggling all the way.

Just look at what a fucking a hippie ass stoner I was. Yes, I am wearing three hemp necklaces…glad you noticed.

One thing that often happened was that we’d end up at Tower Records (RIP) looking at High Times Magazine. We’d stare at those centerfold of beautiful buds the way other teenage boys stared at nudie magazines and we’d dream about going to Amsterdam where we’d be able to just walk in and casually buy weed and smoke it.

What my friends and looked like when we checked out the centerfolds of big buds in High Times Magazine.

Never in my years as a teenage stoner would I have imagined that we’d one day have legal recreational cannabis. It just didn’t seem like something that a country with as many prude, puckered-anus, conservatives would ever allow to happen. So when I finally walked into Shambhala the other day to buy recreational pot, the 17 year old stoner in me was so utterly excited.

Just look at that shit eating grin! This is from the instagram story I did about buying weed at Shambhala. You would have seen it if you were following me on instagram!

Shambhala is something of a legend in the world of San Francisco cannabis dispensaries. Mission Local did this fantastic story on it but I give you the short version:

After opening as a medical marijuana dispensary in 2011 it was it shut down in 2012 after receiving a cease and desist letter from the Federal Government. Once owner Al Shawa saw recreational cannabis become legal in Colorado and Washington though, he said “Fuck it” and decided to reopen and continue dispensing Medical Marijuana. Six months later the feds threatened to seize the building if Shambhala remained open. Al decided to fight the government and after spending two and a half years in a grueling court battle, a judge ruled in his favor. Al fought the law and Al won!

So I was of course excited to get to hang out at Shambhala and meet the man himself:

Al Shawa, the legend himself.

Buying weed at Shambhala was a wonderful experience. There was a menu full of all the options and the budtender was there to answer any questions I had and explain what different strains did what.

 The ganja that we smoke these days is so much stronger than the shit we had when I was a teenager and it often makes me pretty paranoid. Because of this I specifically went in looking for herb that was social and wouldn’t make me paranoid.

Goddamn that looks beautiful. It’s some Silver Back Gorilla, which I ended up going with.

The budtender was super knowledgable and walked me through what different strains were like and how they might make me feel. Plus he let me smell them, which is one of my favorite parts. I’m hella olfactory oriented.

This is a scratch and sniff article, go ahead and give it a try.

Since I’d never boughten cannabis in a dispensary before I asked the budtender a few questions about how to navigate buying legal weed for the first time:

What’s the right question to ask a budtender when you’re shopping for recreational weed?

An easy way to get started is by describing how you want to feel.  Are you looking for giggly weed? Weed that gives you energy and motivation?  Maybe you’re looking for something that relieves pain or stress?

For example if you asked me for some cannabis that you could consume and still be highly productive at work I would recommend Platinum Jack, it’s the kind of weed that people will smoke and then go wash their car or clean their house afterward.  Blue Dream is another higher energy, more social weed.

What’s advice would you give someone who doesn’t smoke a lot of weed, or hasn’t smoked anything strong in a long time?

You can treat it a bit like alcohol.  Take your time, take one puff and wait, like taking a little drink wait a few minutes after to see how you feel.  And if you are eating edibles pay close attention to the directions on the packaging.  And ask your budtender what they recommend for you based on your tolerance and size.  It’s important to find a comfortable amount for you.

Hey! What do you want from me? I’m smoking here!

One of the weird things about recreational cannabis is that they make you leave the dispensary with your weed in these ridiculous, reusable, childproof, giant white bags. It’s a state law, and I get the childproof part of it, but that’s about it. It feels like an overly Puritanical way to sell weed.

Look at the size of this thing.

All in all, buying legal weed at Shambhala was a fantastic experience. The staff was friendly and knowledgable, the product was off the charts, and they let me play with all these pounds of dank ass bud!!* And the best part is that they always have a really killer rotating 8th that only costs $30!

Plus the weed they helped me pick out was perfect. The Silver Back Gorilla was exactly what I was looking for. It was I was giggly, and social, and not in the least bit paranoid. In fact I think I’m gonna smoke some right now.

See you at Shambhala.

*They will not let you play with pounds of weed, sorry pal.

Best day ever!

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".