In the two years since California opened the golden gates to legal, adult-use marijuana, an entirely new cannabis culture has emerged: luxury cannabis.
The evolution of an affluent sector in a new market was inevitable as soon as recreational cannabis became a commodity. From paraphernalia partnerships with mainstream designers to freshly farmed flower and pastry chef-made edibles, it’s also not just about getting high. CBD, or cannabidiol, is everywhere and its cure-all reputation for relieving stress, anxiety, inflammation and insomnia has led to an all-out craze for products infused with the less-psychoactive cousin to THC — and it might be the biggest wellness trend of our time. Whether you find it on the menu in spas, restaurants and coffee shops or on-shelf at the pharmacy, there is no shortage of ways to get your daily dose.
While challenges remain — Proposition 64 was approved by voters in 388 out of California’s 540 cities and counties, but two-thirds of local governments have outlawed cannabis shops — there are 631 shops legally operating now, according to an estimate from state officials. In Orange County, retail restrictions are still upheld everywhere. However, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Irvine and La Habra permit “some types of cannabis industry” like cultivation and distribution.
When Los Angeles-based cannabis cultivator and retailer MedMen opened a store in Manhattan in 2018 on the iconic Fifth Avenue, Page Six dubbed it “The Barneys of Weed.” The dispensary chain now operates 22 stores in six states. And thanks to Los Angeles-based luxury cannabis company Beboe, a “Barneys’ of weed” now exists … in Barneys. Opened in March at Barneys’ Beverly Hills location, The High End offers a range of marijuana-minded accoutrements and wellness products. Pioneers like MedMen and Beboe have set the bar high for what modern cannabis could and should look like, helping consumers shed the negative stoner stereotype and enabling a new breed of businesses to fill a long-overdue niche within the burgeoning industry.
In honor of luxury cannabis having its most major moment yet, we present an ultimate guide to living the green life in Orange County.
HAUTE HEAD SHOPS
MedMen (2141 S. Wright St., Santa Ana :: medmen.com) is often compared to an Apple Store, so expect to find an army of red shirt-clad, knowledgeable and friendly staff to help you navigate a curated array of California’s best brands.
From The Earth (3023 S. Orange Ave., Santa Ana :: fteusa.com) is known for its personalized customer service and super selection of sun-grown flower from the Emerald Triangle.
Originally opening as a medical dispensary in 2017, People’s (2721 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana :: peoplesorangecounty.com) has won industry awards like “SoCal Cannabis Store of the Year” as the largest dispensary in California with an artistic aesthetic – its walls are covered with works by local creatives – stocked with the state’s most notable brands.
Bud and Bloom (1327 E. St. Gertrude Place, Santa Ana :: budandbloomoc.com) caters to experienced and new consumers alike, even providing a monthly charter bus (the Cannibus, natch) to senior living communities. An industrial chic interior with exposed brick and reclaimed wood plays beautiful backdrop to an award-wining inventory and experience.
Available in select California dispensaries, Défoncé worked with a former Kraft Foods executive to develop its eight rich flavors using responsibly sourced ingredients including the finest Belgian cacao and premium, sun-grown California cannabis. :: defonce.com
AT YOUR SERVICE
Since driving to Santa Ana isn’t convenient for all OC’ers, shopping for cannabis is as easy and discreet as a swipe on your iPhone.
Meet MyJane, a new all-female cannabis delivery and subscription service for women that aims to educate its clients as much as sell to them. A must-try is the Sleep Box, which includes 10 CBD and THC-laced products targeted to alleviate insomnia. ::myjane.com
Outside of Blüm‘s brick and mortar (2911 Tech Center Dr., Santa Ana), they offer doorstep delivery within a 20-mile radius (you can also order ahead online). ::letsblum.com
Visit Eaze, a statewide, on-demand delivery service straight from partner dispensaries. ::eaze.com
Some love the ritual of rolling their own, but pre-packed joints take the work out of smoking on the go. California cannabis companies continue to get creative in packaging their signature strains, with beautiful boxes to pop into your purse or pocket. Here are our seven favorites, which, pretty presentation aside, are packed with powerful flower.
Lowell Smokes :: lowellsmokes.com
Higgs :: higgs.life
Leune :: leune.co
Island :: island.co
Pure Beauty :: purebeautypurebeauty.co
Lola Lola :: lolalola.com
Sunday Goods :: sundaygoods.com
Lotions and Potions
One of the best ways to manage muscle pain and skin irritation is with THC- and CBD-infused topicals – another buzzword to learn in the legal cannabis lexicon. Like CBD-only products, these lotions and potions don’t get you high. Instead, they’re absorbed directly through the skin for localized pain and inflammation relief. Here are five product lines we’ve found to work wonders.
Apothecanna :: apothecanna.com
Dr. Kerklaan :: drkerklaan.com
High Gorgeous :: highgorgeous.com
Lord Jones :: lordjones.com
Papa & Barkley :: papaandbarkley.com
The beauty industry is abuzz with CBD with the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Sephora stocking soothing, CBD-infused serums for a facial refresh. The cannabis plant is known to be antioxidant-rich with moisturizing properties to nourish and protect skin against effects of the elements. Apply any one of these five formulas for an instant glow.
Designed with medical-grade stainless steel and ceramic wick technology, each Besito vaporizer comes filled with signature flavored cannabis blends (Grapefruit, Mint, Blackberry) and a built-in battery. $50 :: besito.la
The philanthropic Bloom Farms – a one-for-one company that pledges a healthy meal to someone in need with every product sold – recently restyled a highlighter vape pen in rose gold with a signature metal mouthpiece and redesigned battery. $60 ::getbloomfarms.com
Dosist’s line of sleek white “dose pens” come pre-loaded with one of six scientist-engineered formulas (bliss, sleep, calm, relief, arouse, passion) and are the easiest to use of ’em all. $40 :: dosist.com
Give new meaning to the “rosé all day” mantra with this metallic PAX 3 device. Packed with technology, it works with both flower and extracts, has more than 60 temperature settings and custom session control through Bluetooth functionality and a mobile app. $249.99 :: paxvapor.com
For cannabis concentrate enthusiasts, the Puffco Peak smart rig device is sleek and small enough to keep out on the coffee table or take with you on the go. $379.99 ::puffco.com
Sun grown by second-generation farmers in Mendocino, Sonder’s extract in its oil cartridges are as tasty as they are pure. Choose from Daytime, Nighttime or Sonder time for recommended usages like “everyday shenanigans, obliterating a stressful day, summer afternoon naps, late nights making music and expansive thinking.” $36 ::sondertime.com
Famed potter, designer and author Jonathan Adler just dropped a capsule collection in collaboration with Higher Standards, a luxury cannabis lifestyle company with two brick-and-mortar locations and an online boutique. From $40. :: higherstandards.com
When a high-profile, New York City-based wardrobe stylist launches a vaporizer case company, you know it’s going to complement any look. Rogue Paq, available in Italian ($250) or vegan ($175) leather, comes monogrammed by hand and has a suede interior filled with thoughtful design details like water-resistant interior pockets, scent suppression technology and plenty of space to organize your stash in style. ::roguepaq.com
Beverly Hills-based jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche has been creating gorgeous ganjainspired pieces for her #JAtribe long before legalization made it in vogue. The entire line is covetable, but her signature Sweet Leaf stamp looks best on a vintage stainless steel, 10-diamond baguette Rolex. $9,000, special order only. (photography courtesy of jacquieaiche.com)