INSTAGRAM DISABLED THE REAL WEED TOURIST!

Take refuge from your social media struggles in the Weed Lounges of San Francisco with The Real Weed Tourist @the.real.weed.tourist

Moe Greens Lounge, San Francisco

So, this post was originally going to be about the awesome time I had in Barcelona for Spannabis and all of the cool weed clubs I went to (that blog is coming next 😂) but I have to interrupt my planned programming because two days ago I was inexplicably wiped off of Instagram; kicked out of my account with no explanation. I’m still waiting for a response on regaining access but I’m not holding my breath. This has been happening to so many cannabis accounts with no clarity on why some and not others, which is frustrating for everybody.

Anyways, this whole Instadebacle was just one of many random incidents of celestial fuckery to take place over the past few days. The beauty of being in San Francisco for mercury retrograde is that you can regroup and recover at magical places like Moe Greens!

Moe Greens: The wisest choice. San Francisco

An hour after one of my flights got cancelled (mercury retrograde), I was all set in one of Moe Greens soon to be iconic avocado-colored leather booths, deep in thought about that fucking IG algorithm. Why can’t they hire a human customer service team? Anyways. (We all know the stories). My thoughts almost immediately started to drift, as they do after a few sips of a Durban Poison pre-roll. I began to relax, sat back and looked around the lounge.

The first time I paid a visit to Moe Greens, I thought the key question on the concept of “Weed Lounges” was whether weed is inherently a social activity or not. Many still wonder if your average stoner will leave the privacy of their Netflix Couch to hang out at a lounge. As one Moe Greens staff put it; “We are coming out of decades of prohibition. People will need time to figure out the social dynamics.” I agree. Being back to the lounge a second time though, I realized that Weed lounges aren’t necessarily about social interaction. The vibe of Moe Greens actually feels like something entirely different – and don’t laugh it’s going to be cheesy I’m sorry in advance – what it actually feels like is a safe space to consume and relax. A space where you do you. If you want to be social, gravitate towards people who want to chat. If you’re more in your own head, that’s totally cool too. There are no TVs, no food, no alcohol. Only water and total chill. No one expects you to do anything. You’ll find comfortable and private seats, free WiFi, solid beats and all the weed you could ever want or need.

Demand for this kind of space makes sense to me. People increasingly need a refuge from expectation. That might be what weed lounges are going to be about. I had the privilege of visiting a few of the small number of weed lounges currently open in San Francisco and the “you do you” vibe seemed to be a common thread throughout.Sparc: A San Francisco Mainstay

Sparc is a mainstay of the California cannabis community that has been serving medicinal patients for decades, even when policies made it difficult for them to do so. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, Sparc has adapted to compete commercially, keeping up with the craziness of cannabis regulation and building up a sustainable and mission-driven value chain from farm to bowl. The Sparc location in Mission has an open space, modern lounge area with great air ventilation and warm and approachable staff. Patients and recreational users alike use the lounge area, where each table comes with a volcano vaporizer and which feels almost like a community centre.

Sparc Lounge in Mission

Similarly, the Vaporroom and the team behind it have been in this industry since before it was an industry. The Vaporroom felt like less of a dispensary and more like a wellness gallery, set up to help you discover exactly what you need to feel good. As Martin, the owner and long time Cannabis activist described his vision, it was clear he had been very intentional when he designed the space. If the intent was to create a beautiful, clean and safe space to consume with no stigma and no shame: Mission Accomplished!

The Vaporroom: So Pretty

The one that got away: I’ll have to be back for this!

As a solo female traveler in particular, finding weed and a place to consume it requires some level of risk taking and sketchiness in most parts of the world. My experience in California has been nothing but a dream; safe, un-intimidating and easy.

That said, it’s not all cumbaya for SF Weed Lounges. Dispensaries and their cousin Lounges have been through a grueling period of volatile regulation, an influx of corporate investments and steep competition emerging around every corner. It’s a wild time in the business of California weed and everyone involved is bonded by the uncertainty and hopes for the future. Perhaps this is why, despite the intense competition and volatility, there seems to be a great deal of trust.

Which made me think; why can’t Instagram be as safe and trustworthy? A recent Pew Research study showed that Californians trust Cannabis dispensaries and growers more than they trust social media companies. Somehow I’m not surprised.

It makes sense that, after years of having to hide recreational use, the stoner community would require trust and built in psychological safety. If weed lounges are to succeed, trust will have to be a central feature. The coolest part about the emergence of the ubiquitous weed lounge may very well be the increase in safe spaces where it’s ok to do you. If you do end up socializing at a lounge, in my experience, the level of connection is much deeper, more empathetic and more authentic. In this day and age, we can all use a little more of that.

Maybe now that Mercury Retrograde has come to an end, Instagram will let The Real Weed Tourist back into her account. In the meantime, follow her travels and blogs @the.real.weed.tourist coming soon as she explores more California weed tourism in SF, LA and Sonoma and heads to Denver, Colorado for the NoCo Hemp Conference.

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