Back in the day, going back to 1996, California was nothing but medical marijuana. Over time, cannabis laws changed, and recently, recreational cannabis use came into existence. With expanded access, scores of dispensaries pivoted to serving the adult use market entirely, or at least in part. As of spring 2019, less than 100 legal medical-only dispensaries exist in California.
It is important to note that some cities in the Golden State have outright prohibited recreational cannabis, leaving Californians with access only to medical dispensaries. If you live in an area that has nixed recreational cannabis, then medical dispensaries are a closer jaunt. You’ll save money too, providing you have a medical recommendation like the one you can easily obtain from NuggMD.
Learn about the Bay Area's best medical cannabis dispensaries:
[Click any of the section titles below to jump there]
- Why Visit a Medical-Only Dispensary?
- How Do I Find a Medical-Only Dispensary
- Kanna - Oakland
- 2ONE2 California St
- Blüm – San Leandro
- Garden of Eden – Hayward
- M.E.D’s Dispensary – El Sobrante
- Harvest of Napa – Napa
- River City Phoenix – Sacramento
- Pure Life Collective – Diamond Springs
- Blue Mountain Collective – San Andreas
- Zen Garden Wellness – Stockton
- Recap: Finding a Medical-Only Dispensary in California
Why Visit a Medical-Only Cannabis Dispensary?
While many dispensaries today offer educational programs, knowledgeable budtenders and product demo days, there’s something unique about medical-only: the degree of patient care. At a medical-only dispensary, the budtenders often have more medically-oriented training and can tell you how cannabis is used to treat certain conditions, from anxiety to irritable bowel disease (IBD).
Medical-only dispensaries are also more likely to have programs in place to help low-income patients – a carryover from Prop 215 when registered caregivers were required to offer additional programs such as food giveaways, counseling, etc. Many of today’s medical-only dispensaries offer educational material geared more towards cannabis patients and maintain an activist-oriented mindset.
How Do I Find Medical-Only Dispensaries?
If you’re looking for a medical-specific shop in the Bay Area, you may need to travel a bit. And by that, we mean you’ll be leaving the Bay entirely.
While some are feasible drives in the area, others may send you exploring the other majestic wonders that California has to offer. Meaning, you’re gonna go on a bit of a road trip.
Let’s explore some of the best medical-only dispensaries in the Bay and the surrounding area.
Kanna – Oakland
Oakland’s Kanna is known for its passion for community service. This includes sharing the medical benefits of cannabis with patients, families and neighbors. With a grand opening slated for April 2019, the dispensary aims to provide service programs to patients and neighbors in addition to on-site workshops, seminars and other events.
2ONE2 California St. – San Francisco
Patients love 2ONE2’s small and cozy location. The employees are often regarded as some of the more knowledgeable and friendly in the area. One patient noted how the team made them feel at ease and offered samples. This excellent service has been known to convert loyal customers of other shops into 2ONE2 fans.
Blüm – San Leandro
Blüm has a number of locations, including one in Oakland. However, San Leandro allows only medical patients at this time. As such, the sleek and professional adult use experience that Blüm offers at numerous California and Nevada locations is the same in San Leandro, except only medical patients can partake.
Garden of Eden – Hayward
A half-hour drive south from the Bay leads to Hayward and Garden of Eden, an upscale, modern, tech-friendly location. The place is often packed, but customers report that lines tend to move quickly enough. With tax included in the prices and a wealth of quality strains to choose from, many don’t mind waiting in line a bit.
M.E.D’s Dispensary – El Sobrante
About 40 minutes north of the Bay is a shop with over ten years of experience. Founder Buzz Fowler runs the mom and pop style shop that advocates for giving patients the medicine they need. Customers often regard the staff as friendly, helpful and recommend the shop for others in the area.
Harvest of Napa – Napa
Many flock to Napa for the wineries, art, music and the incredible sights. It’s also home to one of the most recent additions to the medical-only dispensary community. Harvest of Napa is the first medical dispensary to do business in Napa County, and hopefully sparks a new trend in the area. Click here to read the in-depth piece on Napa’s first medical cannabis dispensary.
River City Phoenix – Sacramento
RCP gets heaps of praise from its customers. Much of the love goes out to the staff who are regarded for consistently providing friendly and informed service. The team is joined by top quality product to give the patients the complete customer experience they require.
Pure Life Collective – Diamond Springs
Pure Life gets high marks for its mix of quality flower and top-notch staff. The friendly, knowledgeable staff seem to hook people in and make them regulars rather often. Some have said that your expectations may even be exceeded at Pure Life.
Heads up, you’ll need to head two hours east into the state to visit Pure Life.
Blue Mountain Collective – San Andreas
Keep driving a bit more east, and you could wind up in San Andreas and another top medical dispensary. Blue Mountain checks all the necessary marks with a professional and friendly staff with a quality product. It also receives praise for its same-day delivery as well as its location.
Zen Garden Wellness – Stockton
Another two-hour drive east brings us to Stockton. There, Zen Garden Wellness customers report loving the straightforward experience that includes tax included in the sales price. A friendly staff is the norm at Zen Garden, as it is online where the owner is likely to respond to customer reviews regardless of the sentiment.
Recap: Finding a Medical-Only Dispensary in California
Today, finding a medical-only dispensary in California can be difficult. With adult use being legal, a patient is much more likely to find a recreational dispensary or a mixed-use shop.
In Northern California, finding a medicinal-only facility can be that much more difficult. Aside from a few options in the Bay, patients need to travel a sizable distance to get the medicine they need.
The value of a medical-only facility remains, and patients certainly understand their importance. With regulations and other drawbacks making adult use dispensaries less than ideal, patients still need their medical-only dispensaries in the Bay Area and beyond.