The Faces of Cannabis Club
In San Francisco, even the techies have weed subcultures.
By Amelia Williams, City of College of San Francisco
I’ve touched on how personal identity intersects with cannabis tastes in here before, but I have yet to delve deeper into cannabis club culture and its mysticisms.
Clubs don’t exist in most of the US, or the world, so most people can only speculate based on Yelp reviews and Weedmaps photo galleries what kind of businesses these are. Often too, are overlooked the people who get their medicine from these places and the eccentricities they bring with them. My club in particular is located in a dense area with high socioeconomic diversity, so the shop gets a lot of different smokers in it. Here, in no particular order, are the eight kinds of people you’re going to find at a cannabis club.
1. The Casual Smoker
These guys or girls come in with semi-regularity. They rarely ever buy more than an eighth, and they lament how little they need to get “fucked up.”
These people are trusting of professional opinions and often will let you know how their last experience was, because they haven’t been in since and remember your face. All around nice, mild people. May switch it up and buy a pack of joints, one of which they often say lasts them “days.”
2. The Dabheads
They have transcended weed itself. They haven’t smoked a joint in almost a year because they’re on the dabs. They’re typically younger than 35 and have been smoking so long that only the 60-80 percent THC range works for them.
Within their community there are hierarchies, such as the ones who buy nugrun* dabs in quantity or the ones who buy headstash* for quality. Not enough women, in my opinion. I bet a lot of money most of them don’t clean their rigs regular enough. They want to look at and smell many of them, and can often be enticed by quirky strain names and a decent terpene** profile.
*headstash and nugrun are indicators of quality for the flower used to make the dabs. Headstash is high grade, and thus more expensive than nugrun, which is mid/average.
**terpenes are molecules found in the essential oils of plants, including cannabis. They are what give cannabis, as well as fruits and trees, their distinct scents and flavors.
3. The Eaters
The most discreet of the lot. Edible highs differ from almost all other forms of medicating, because of the wait time before effect and the caution one should heed when dosing.
Edible eaters are usually insomniacs or vegans or they’ve given up smoking and haven’t discovered vaping yet. Within the edible community are the heavy hitters who need products in excess of 200mg of THC, the moderate ~50mg and then the 5mg nibblers.
4. The Walking Weedkipedias
Aaaaaah. I remember in my younger years, weed was about the name. Outside the club people went on name, not the genetics or the sativa:indica ratio, just a cool name. It was in the club that I first started asking questions, picking up tidbits of knowledge that I would try to remember and flex the next time I went. However, they would never let me get away with a false assumption.
These people want validation, and it can be hard to look their eagerness and confidence in the face and tell them, no, that isn’t a Blue Dream cross, it’s actually a landrace sativa strain. If they don’t believe me, I refer them to someone who will tell them the same thing.
5. The Techies with Vape Pens
Now I don’t mean to stereotype, but much of the working class—at least those in my club’s radius—that have bought or inquired about a vape pen, are employed by an app or a search engine.
My informed theory is that the discretion, the tech involved and the strength of the vape is what make them appeal to computer people, since you don’t often see computer analysts rolling doobies in the park. Somewhere around 27 is the median age.
6. The OGs
Unlike the weedkipedias, the OGs know their stuff but don’t brag about it. They’re not quite seniors, but they’ve seen weed through all its permutations through the 20th century. They either buy a lot or buy very little: depends on who their friends are.
They also like to talk, usually about weed and the novelty of the experience of buying weed at proper establishment and not somebody’s living room.
They might even talk about what else they were doing in the ‘70s.
7. The Ones Wearing Weed Merch
Cannabis branding is in a nebulous phase. It’s not quite legal and brands have not quite figured how to to market themselves to a statewide audience.
Here in SF, a lot of the bigger clubs now sell swag and smoking accessories with our names on them, and every year you see more and more people wearing them. They live up to the merch by, usually, aligning themselves to the brand they’ve chosen and talking about what they last smoked that they liked. They mean well, are grateful and are always good for a chat.
8. Those Who Forgot How Businesses Work
True, cannabis clubs operate in a gray area. Most of them are cash-based and work on the relationships between vendors and owners and budtenders. Some are more compassionate than others, and some expect more compassion than others. But like any business that wants to make money, there are rules. It can be deeply uncomfortable to have people mutter or stare or openly laugh in your face when you don’t provide them with a deal they believe they deserve.
Really, these kinds of people exist everywhere, because they all lead lives outside of the 15 minutes I see them daily, weekly, monthly or irregularly. My job isn’t to judge them; it’s to help them with their ailments. None is necessarily “better” than the other, because they all end up in the same place.