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The welcome reception of a San Francisco dispensary
Photo: Courtesy of the Apothecarium

The best dispensaries in San Francisco

Stock up on buds, edibles, and vapes at these top dispensaries in San Francisco

Written by
Clara Hogan
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San Francisco has long been a leader of cannabis culture, stemming back to the 1960s when high-as-a-kite hippies roamed the streets to the early days of the medical marijuana movement in the 1990s to the past few years as recreational use became legalized. 

In the same vein, people have always been able to score high-quality weed here, but the industry in the city has reached new heights ever since California legalized the beloved herb. To put it mildly, the city’s pot scene has exploded. Dispensaries in San Francisco have upped their game, morphing from dark, intimidating head shops into airy, bar-like lounges and inviting bud boutiques (and some even offer delivery!) 

The experience of buying cannabis is now easy, approachable, and sometimes downright luxurious. From the Mission to the Financial District, you’ll find beautiful retail spaces, trendy consumption lounges, and friendly customer service that will help you find exactly the kind of high you’re looking for. Whether you’re a longtime smoker or a curious newbie, here are the best weed dispensaries in San Francisco to buy potent, safe cannabis in all its forms.

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Dispensaries in San Francisco

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  • Mission Dolores

Styled by design firm Urban Chalet, these decked-out dispensaries look more like upscale bars or restaurants than weed shops. Outfitted with wingback chairs, geometric tile, floral arrangements, and well-appointed bookshelves, Architectural Digest named the original Castro location one of the best-designed dispensaries in the country. Owner Ryan Hudson has since followed up with two additional outposts. The Marina space is the sleekest of the bunch, with marble countertops, crystal chandeliers, and velvet seating arrangements, but all three locations offer a wide array of cannabis, including flowers, edibles, topicals, and concentrates—all batch-tested for purity—as well as dozens of smoking and vaping accessories. One-on-one “consultants” are available to answer questions or steer you in the right direction. (Do you prefer edibles? Tinctures? Smoking?) Order online or request delivery from either the Castro or SoMa shop.

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  • Civic Center

In early 2019, owner Nate Haas transformed a formerly dingy Market Street dollar store into a sprawling, 4,200-square-foot nightclub for cannabis lovers. Haas, who was previously a manager at Barbary Coast, knows his stuff: The selection of pre-rolled joints, flowers, vaporizers, cartridges, and edibles is unparalleled (if pricey). But the real allure is the ventilated, 1,500-square-foot lounge, decked with plush, grass-green booths and sputnik chandeliers. Nicknamed the “playground,” the lounge also offers cannabis-infused drinks and high-end edibles. (Outside food is allowed, with permission.) In addition to the main bar, there’s a high roller room outfitted with five booths and an intimate dab lounge for enjoying concentrated THC.

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Posh Green is a Black- and woman-owned dispensary launched by Reese Benton under the city's cannabis equity program, which aims to help those from communities traditionally harmed by the war on drugs to reap the benefits of the legal cannabis industry. 

The shop itself is airy and trendy, dubbed the “Nordstrom of cannabis,” with navy walls, plush chairs, and attentive customer service. The products are premium and top-shelf, sourced from local farmers and greenhouse vendors with an emphasis on wellness, comfort, healing — or just having fun. 

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  • SoMa

Sparc founder Erich Pearson is responsible for bringing California’s farm-to-table ethos to weed. He runs one of the largest legal cannabis farms in Sonoma County, with an emphasis on biodynamic, organic, and sustainable growing methods. His pair of dispensaries have rightfully been deemed the “Apple of pot shops,” thanks to its AIA Award-winning look: white walls, blond wood communal tables, warm lighting. The SoMA location is the larger of the two. Peruse the expansive menu from a screen behind the counter, or ask the helpful staff for recommendations for flowers, edibles, or accessories.

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Back in the 1960s, the Haight-Asbury was the center of free love and where an illegal cannabis liberation movement thrived. Now, the legal market has arrived. Berner's on Haight was the first shop to open under the San Francisco Cannabis Equity Program. CEO Shawn M. Richard is an ex-convict and former gang member who started selling drugs in this very neighborhood at age 12. He later founded violence reduction nonprofit Brothers Against Guns, is co-founder of the San Francisco Equity Groupand generally advocates for greater equity in the cannabis space. Berner's on Haight has a huge selection of products — but shopping here means more than supporting a store, it's supporting a movement. 

MediThrive opened back in 1996 after Proposition 215 legalized medical marijuana in California, right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. It was one of the first original dispensaries to open in the city — and it's the only one remaining today. The store went through a full remodel in 2009, and now serves products for medical and recreational purposes. It's always been locally owned and operated since the 90s and remains so today.

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  • San Francisco

Amid the recent influx of swanky, design-conscious newcomers, Green Cross has been catering to in-the-know smokers for more than 15 years. It was one of the first cannabis delivery services, and Green Cross president Kevin Reed is well known in the community as an activist and leader. Reed set up shop in this Excelsior storefront in 2013, offering flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, pipes, vaporizers, topicals, and more. While the decor feels a bit throwback—neon, blacklights, trippy art—what it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for with its wide selection, super-knowledgeable staff, and affordable prices.

Urbana has two locations in SF — the Inner Richmond and the Mission — and both offer excellent and helpful customer service. The friendly budtenders at Urbana know their stuff, taking the time to educate customers and make cannabis approachable. In addition to a retail space with a huge selection of products, the stores also feature modern yet comfortable cannabis lounges where you can try CBDs, cannabis flower, pre-rolls, vapes, and more.

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After the success of the original storefront in downtown Los Angeles in 2017, STIIZY opened up its San Francisco location in the Mission District in 2019. The bright white storefront is loaded with premium products, from edibles to tinctures to flowers, and features artwork by a local muralist, as well as large-scale photographs of locals to capture the spirit of the Mission. 

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  • Bernal Heights

Harvest is a white-and-wood swathed space that offers organic, naturally-grown cannabis in a boutique-like setting. Hundreds of flowers, edibles, tinctures, ointments, and lotions are available, and everything is openly displayed for easy browsing. (They’ll even offer a handy basket while you shop.) The majority of the products are sourced from artisan California growers; all are independently lab-tested. Members of the collective get free access to the lounge, where you can smoke, vape, or dab amid leather banquettes, game tables, and a wide-screen TVs; the state-of-the-art air filtration system means you won’t leave reeking of smoke. Education is big here—the lounge is frequently host to classes and workshops.

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  • SoMa

Barbary Coast originally opened in 2013 as a medical cannabis dispensary; it’s since doubled in size to include an indoor vaping, smoking, and dabbing lounge (accessible if you spend $40 or more). The pot shop’s name is a nod to San Francisco’s legendary, long-gone red-light district, which was known for hideaway bars in the Prohibition Era. Fittingly, the space has a speakeasy vibe, from the exposed brick and the stained-glass lighting to the Art Deco accents and the red wallpaper and banquettes. The store offers smoking, dabbing, and vaping tools as well as a leather-bound menu of flowers, vapes, and concentrates. In the swanky, smoke-filled adjoining lounge, vaporizers and rolling papers are provided at each table. The spot features regular events, demos, and tastings.

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  • SoMa

This narrow, industrial-chic space is modeled after the cannabis-friendly coffee shops of Amsterdam—it’s casually outfitted with exposed brick and abstract art. The selection of premium, medical-grade cannabis runs the gamut from flowers and concentrates to edibles and tinctures. The SoMa spot is all about transparency and safety, opting for full-spectrum lab testing and screening for all its products (That means you can see potency data on THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, THCV, and CBG; they also screen for pesticides, solvents, and bacteria.) All the flowers are displayed at the counter, so it’s easy to browse strains unassisted. Join Bloom Room’s collective for access to the dab bar or vapor lounge, which includes complimentary volcano vaporizers.

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  • SoMa

Vapor Room was founded in 2004 by a group of grassroots weed activists, then shut down in 2012 during a federal crackdown on medical marijuana shops. The store reopened in 2019 in a former sandwich shop. Where the original Haight Street location was an homage to the city’s hippie roots—1970s lounge furniture, bare-bones decor—the new space is intimate and inviting, decked with globe lighting, light wood, and art from The Perish Trust. Though the shop is compact, the selection is uncommonly broad, from flowers to edibles to accessories. And while there’s no lounge to speak of, you can sample the goods in-store.

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  • Lower Nob Hill

Though Grass Roots has been around for more than a decade, this combo pot club and dispensary is invitingly modern. Budtenders are stationed behind a long wood bar, surrounded by jewel-tone, flocked-velvet wallpaper. Grass Roots prides itself on its knowledgeable staff, who project a near reverence for their products. Every item is lab tested for safety and accuracy and includes a helpful rundown of its cannabinoids (that’s the percentage of THC, CBD, etc.) The extensive menu features over 500 products, including extracts, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, pens, cartridges, topicals, and accessories. Hit the ATM before you come; it’s cash only.

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  • Dogpatch

This posh, minimalist dispensary flies under-the-radar—marked only by a sandwich board out front, it can be easy to miss. It’s named after the area’s original designation (before it was Dogpatch, it was Dutchman’s Flat) and nurtures a neighborhood-y, first-name-basis vibe with regulars. The menu is projected onto the white brick wall behind the counter, and buds are displayed in tidy tins with information and tasting notes printed below. The focus, while somewhat limited, is on top-grade, lab tested flowers; they grow much of what’s sold here and offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee (if not, you’ll receive a full refund).

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