After a stressful pandemic year, people may be thinking about giving green gifts so everyone can get into the spirit of the holidays. While recreational marijuana is legal and relaxing, for some, finding gift options can be taxing. David Downs, California bureau chief for Leafly, has recommendations for the best stocking stuffers.
KCRW: For people looking to score the best and safest cannabis gifts, what guidance do you have for them? What's hot?
David Downs: “Cannabis is super normal. Now there's hundreds of thousands of consumers in California. The state's going to do $3.6 billion in legal sales this year. There's about 600 stores and delivery services open, and we're finishing our third year of our adult use sales. So this industry is maturing super fast.
In terms of what's popular, the number one thing remains cannabis flower. That’s the unrolled flower buds that you roll or smoke yourself. The number one strain of the year is Runtz. … That's going to be pricing.
Second … is we see the popularity of vape cartridges like Raw Garden’s single-use carts. These are great because they don't smell. They travel really well. And people like the ease and convenience of just sipping a little pen and getting a slight lift, as opposed to playing around with a joint or a bowl and not knowing how high you're going to get.
Third in the line, we have edibles, specifically Kiva’s new gummies are doing really well. These are the Lost Farm line of gummies where they use cannabis extracts.
And then there's a bunch of non-THC products … that are going to be great for the cannabis consumer or frankly yourself.”
This year may be the first time that some people are trying out legal marijuana. What recommendations do you have for them?
“The mantra is start low and go slow. There's this assumption that we should try edibles because they're not smoked, and you're not putting anything in your lungs. But it's really easy to overdo it on edibles because they take 90 minutes to take effect.
So the standard starter dose of cannabis is just two to five milligrams of cannabis. A very tiny amount. And the California standard legal dose is 10 milligrams. So if you get a 10 milligram Kiva gummy, you want to start with half of that, and set a timer for 90 minutes. And then maybe set another timer for 90 minutes after that. The first one reminds you that it's okay to eat more. The second one reminds you that you are in fact on edibles. And that's why you're staring at the wall in your kitchen.”
What if someone wants to give back while giving gifts? What is a good option for the altruist?
“It's a great year to do that through cannabis brands. Most of them are donating a portion of sales to groups like the Last Prisoner Project, which is helping getting people out of prison for cannabis, which is now legal.
There's this delivery site called Eaze. They have an entire menu that's just curated for equity cannabis brands, so that you can just shop among some of these marginalized groups who are trying to make inroads in the legal cannabis industry. And Eaze reports that that Black and equity menu has already done 2 million in sales this year.”
Southern California residents are supposed to stay at home as much as possible, and only gather with people in immediate households. Any guidance for gifting lonely stoners this year?
“It's the best year ever for that. You can order online. … There's also delivery in California. We have best in class delivery. It's either next day, statewide, or same day, or same sort of morning, depending on how close you are to the delivery service. There's also curbside pickup, where you order ahead, and then honk your horn when you're out front, and they'll bring it out to you. There's usually express lines now. We've seen drive-thrus up in 2020 because cannabis has been deemed essential by regulators.
And then if you are going to go into the store, give yourself a little bit of time, bring your mask, bring cash, and be prepared to wait in line.”