THE BUD-TOTING BIKE MESSENGER
How you know you’re there: You’re at home, you send a text message and a few minutes later (OK, probably longer), a sweaty man whose BO stench covers any evidence of weed is at your door. He looks like any bike messenger—one pant leg rolled up, a cycling cap with a curled brim, gauged ears and lots of tattoos—but his courier bag is filled with that kind bud.
How to be: He’d probably appreciate it if you rolled a joint to share. Don’t worry about sending him immediately back out to the street. He’s a professional.
What to get: Small buys are preferred—a dime bag or an eighth, tops. Don’t worry about what strain it is. They brought it to your doorstep and will do it again (almost) anytime!
THE BACK-ALLEY DEALER
How you know you’re there: You’ll meet in his flossed-out Civic on a side street just off Burnside. Upon sliding into the passenger seat, you’ll be handed your pre-requested amount of green wrapped in a Burgerville bag, ketchup packets included.
How to be: Put the cash in the center console and make it quick. This guy doesn’t even smoke and has places to be, so look both ways before exiting the car, throw a nonchalant wave and then get the hell out of there.
What to get: Beware of ditch weed or “that new green” they’re pedaling. You never know where these guys get their goods.
THE FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD DEALER
How you know you’re there: A poorly kept yard and tapestries over the windows are a sure sign you’re in the right place. Follow the sound of the Xbox into a room filled with Costco-size jars of weed and a man-size version of a geeky high-school kid. He seems excited to see you—or maybe he’s just high.
How to be: Some awkward small talk will be required, and you’ll feel bad that you want to leave. Talk about sports or the weather, take a bong hit when offered and plan excuses to get out of there. Don’t move too fast, though. You’ve entered a world where time and space know no bounds, and all that matters is you seem chill. When you walk out the door, don’t yell, “Thanks!”
What to get: Your choices are limited to what’s available, but buy in bulk. That way, you won’t have to come back for a while.
THE GROW LAB
How you know you’re there: There’s a strange glow coming from the backroom and precariously placed ventilation ducts coming out of unlikely locations. The furniture and electronics are top-notch, and framed Bob Marley posters decorate the walls. The news blares from a huge flatscreen TV, but other than that, the house is dark and smells faintly of patchouli.
How to be: Act interested. These guys are farmers first and stoners second and love to discuss the subtle notes of fruit or the perfect strain of sativa. Since they’re making their cash growing “legally,” they’ll probably hook you up with a good deal if you entertain them for a while with stoner banter.
What to get: Go for the latest hybrid, vacuum-sealed in odor-proof plastic. And don’t forget, they’ll expect a report back.
THE STONER’S PARADISE OMMP SHOP
How you know you’re there: The sign outside looks homemade and boasts a cute play on words for the name—say, Cannabliss. Once inside, the hostess, who looks like she just got off a shift at Hot Topic, checks your medical-marijuana card and ushers you in. You’ll have your pick of edibles, canna-candy, flower or dabs. The room is darkened and decked out like your hippie uncle’s house, and you’ll squint to make out the day’s menu, written in color-coded Sharpie on a whiteboard. Next to it, you’ll notice a photoshopped image of the dude behind the counter that reads “King Bubba Kush.” It makes it hard not to laugh when you look at him.
How to be: Ask questions about the product. The bud-tender has found his dream job and loves to jabber about indica versus sativa, and only uses a few terms you’ve never heard before. When you’re sufficiently confused, just nod and point to the one that smells the best. After filling your prescription, don’t race out. Kick back on the ’70s-era thrift-store couch, medicate and enjoy some sports on the big-screen TV. After a while, you’ll start to wonder how long some of these other bleary-eyed patrons have been here and realize it’s time to go.
What to get: Although they sell flower of various reimbursement rates, go for the top-shelf varieties. Ask around for deals like free-blunt Friday, or for shops that give you a gift on your first visit. Make sure to enter the monthly raffle. If you’re not in the market for medicine, why not pick up some tapestries, burlap sacks or ironic stoner T-shirts?
THE CORPORATE OMMP SHOP
How you know you’re there: The exterior windows are covered in a custom-made wrap that blocks the view but still lets in light. Inside, the bright waiting area feels sterile, and a friendly dude in a pulled-back beanie greets you at the door. You’re required to sign a paper assuring you’re not a federal enforcement officer, and are then entered into a computer system before you gain entry. Inside the store, things are clean, orderly and meticulously labeled.
How to be: Ask about CBD and THC levels, tell them about your ailments and remember you’re reimbursing them for meds, not buying drugs. Even though you can put your purchase on a credit card, to do so feels weird, as does getting a receipt. As of Feb. 14, it will no longer be legal to smoke on the premises, but we assume you’ll still be invited to hang out in the “bud bar.”
What to get: Sniff multiple jars
knowingly and finally settle on the one that’s cheapest. These places
carefully buy only from the best growers, right? While you’re there, you
might as well pick up a medicated caramel nut brownie for later.