There was a lit-up green cross on the outside, the only thing that could distinguish this building from what seemed to be a store space that’s been neglected since the LA Riots of 1992. We were near Santee Alley. I only happened to come to this dispensary because my buddy forgot his ID so couldn’t go in, and this is his go-to spot. “Sure, I’m down,” as any faithful friend says to a pal in need. He gave me $80 bucks out on the sidewalk in front so I strolled inside.
The first room is very tiny and all that greets you is a wall about 8 feet in front of you with a small counter to the right and a door with a security camera above it to the left. I was pretty sure it wasn’t an interrogation chamber due to the dank aroma creeping through the cracks of that door.
At the counter, there was a sign that says “SHOW I.D.” above the counter that didn’t even have a window or screen. Just a small tray-area to put my ID, similar to late-night gas station windows. I put my ID there then a hand snatched it, and I waited for what felt like ages before it reappeared and they buzzed me in through that ominous Second Door.
After over a decade of buying weed in parking lots, parks and questionable households, I find myself in what looks like a trap house/smoke shop hybrid. There was a small area that could be called a waiting room if you really wanted to stretch your imagination…. No furniture or décor; minimal lighting; however there was a small table with a dab rig on it and an older lady was firing it up while I was walking toward the counter.
Not exactly the cool smoke lounges I’ve heard about elsewhere, but right on, dude.
Finally got to the shop area, which was extremely underwhelming. There were about 15 strains all in mason jars with labels – no real branding, just the names of strains. That’s fine – fancy packaging isn’t going to increase the THC percentage. The biggest letdown for me, even though I wasn’t even buying weed for myself this time, was the fact that at least half the product they had on the shelves was totally mid-grade. Not trying to be a pretentious connoisseur, but I’m born and raised in California and I know what this shit’s supposed to look and smell like. Why even bother with some of these home-grown projects?
This isn’t about indoor vs. outdoor, either. I can appreciate both equally and understand the main differences. It was simply apparent that this particular shop wasn’t looking for much of anything “top shelf.” It was kind of like a dive-bar for weed. So, after snooping around for about 5 minutes, I asked the budtender what she thought was their best strain and she suggested Strawberry Cake. I checked out a nug of this sativa-dominant hybrid and it passed my personal test for density and stickiness. So, I asked for 5 grams and she told me about the new customer specials, so she gave me a considerable discount and a free joint along with that and asked if I wanted a rewards card for future purchases.
I told her I won’t be back (this didn’t come out as harsh as you may think, I promise).
So, I exited with my standard medical cannie in a stapled plastic bag, walked past the dabbing lady who was probably not gonna go anywhere for at least an hour, then met up with my buddy still out on the sidewalk.
This was the day I learned that there is a spectrum of the quality of dispensaries, and this was clearly the low end. If you ever find yourself in a city or area and aren’t sure of the best dispensary in the area, make sure to check online reviews and ask your friends. Although ultimately I walked out with quality weed, I’d much rather be at a place that shows they take their business more seriously.