Oakland has a long history of social justice activism and also serves as a haven for artists, musicians, and culture creators pushed out of San Francisco by the affordable housing crisis. So it’s no wonder that the cannabis movement has deep roots in the city, including a vibrant community of activists and entrepreneurs who’ve won the support of local politicians while pushing for a progressive approach to regulation.
Visitors can enjoy hip coffee shops, art galleries, and eateries that reflect the multicultural soul of the city, while stocking up at pioneering cannabis dispensaries run by dedicated activists like Steve DeAngelo, Debby Goldsberry and Aundre Speciale, who’ve devoted decades of their lives to ending the war on weed and promoting responsible use of the plant.
Click hereto view a map of Oakland cannabis shops on Leafly.
- Cannabis is legal in California for adults age 21 and older. Bring a valid, unexpired form of ID to get into retail stores.
- It’s legal to carry up to one ounce of cannabis flower as well as eight grams of extract.
- You can grow up to six plants.
- Adults 21 and older can gift each other cannabis and transport it. Cannabis must be unopened and locked in the trunk, like booze.
- No driving or boating high. No open containers or half-smoked joints.
Top Oakland Cannabis Shops
Brick & Mortar
- Harborside – Lines are long at this famous dispensary helmed by cannabis impresario Steve DeAngelo, who appeared in the reality TV series “Weed Wars.” But it’s worth the wait to scoop up exclusive strains like London Poundcake and Lemon Tree.
- Magnolia Wellness – This welcoming establishment boasts an on-site vapor lounge and dab bar, courtesy of proprietor Debby Goldsberry, a true cannabis OG determined to create a safe space for social consumption.
- Phytologie – The closest dispensary to Oakland International Airport, this is a great spot to visit on your way into town. Founded by Aundre Speciale, a prominent dispensary operator and longtime cannabis activist, Phytologie staff are well-trained in all aspects of cannabis use.
- Purple Heart Patient Center – This is the perfect place to procure some fine cannabis before heading out to enjoy the farmers markets, wine walks and food fairs held at nearby Jack London Square, one of Oakland’s premiere tourist destinations.
- C.R.A.F.T. – Winner of the “Best Delivery Service” from the East Bay Express, C.R.A.F.T. brings high quality cannabis products direct to your door. With plenty of exclusive offerings to choose from on their extensive menu, you’re sure to be pleased with this local favorite.
- Mellow – Enjoy quick, convenient delivery of premium cannabis products priced competitively. Look for the Gold Drop vaporizer cartridges, high-end flowers from THC Design and low-dose Satori Chocolates.
- Community Gardens – This minority-owned business gives back to the community through various charitable efforts, supporting the compassionate values of the cannabis movement. Look for eco-friendly sun-grown cannabis from Flow Kana, concentrates from Raw Garden and Jetty Extracts, along with a nice selection of pre-rolls.
Oakland Cannabis Shopping
Welcome to a modern, legal and advanced cannabis economy. Brace for town taxes.
- $10-$20: One gram of flower (a few pipe loads) or a pre-roll
- $30-$80: One eighth ounce of flower (one-finger lid) or a few edibles
- $75-$150: One quarter ounce of flower (two-finger lid) or a couple vape carts
- $140-$200: Half ounce of flower (quarter of a sandwich bag) or couple grams of high-end hash
- $250-$500: One ounce of flower and a pretty good time in Oakland
- Taxes will be included in the quoted price.
- Oakland hits canna-business with a 10 percent local tax, on top of a layer cake of state sales and excise taxes, bumping the price up 25 percent, at least.
- Look for CBD-rich pre-rolls and cannabis from Flow Kana. CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis that will make you feel relaxed without getting overwhelmingly high.
- Small amounts of CBD edibles including Dr. Norm’s CBD peanut butter cookies, Somatik chocolate-covered goji berries or Plus Gummies Pineapple & Coconut CBD gummies are a good way to cautiously experiment with edibles.
- Seek out vaporizer cartridges from Absolute Extracts, Care by Design or Bloom Farms. Vaping offers the ability to titrate your dose by just taking one or two puffs from a discrete delivery method.
- Avoid: Edibles with more than 5 mg of THC per serving, especially if there’s no CBD content. THC-infused foods can be intense for new consumers of cannabis, so it’s best to start slow.
- Enjoy the best bath of your life with Whoopi & Maya’s Amber Moon Soak, emerging relaxed from head to toe. Topical soaks enable your skin to absorb cannabinoids, soothing your body with the ultimate in self-care. You won’t feel too high, just incredibly chill. Find it at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland.
- Try out traditionally-made ice hash from Nasha or Biscotti. Sprinkle a little on a bowl or inside a joint to get an extra kick from these moderately-strong extracts.
- Look for Kin Slips, a sublingual strip that dissolves under your tongue, delivering a fast-acting dose of 10 mg of THC.
- Avoid: Too-strong extracts in excess of 60%. These should only be used by people with the highest THC tolerances.
- Discover the best cannabis flowers, like the Chem Krush from I.C. Collective, the uniquely citrusy Lemon Tree and London Poundcake from the infamous Cookie Fam, which has been going for up to $75 per eighth!
- Find the ultimate THC “diamonds” from high-end extract artists Beezle’s Black Label line, plus amazing offerings from Utopia Farms, Raw Garden and Loudpack.
- Stock up on healthy edibles from Atlas, which offers granola bites in sophisticated flavors with 10 mg of THC per piece, or indulge with decadent baked goods from Kaneh Co.
- Avoid: Any herb that smells like hay or that’s weak and flavorless—also known as “boof.”
Leading Strains of Oakland
Oakland Cannabis Activities
Oakland Cannabis Tours
- Sea of Green Cannabis Tours – Choose from a variety of experiences ranging from a dispensary tour to an in-depth exploration of a hash-making facility.
- 420 Party Bus Tours – Relax and let someone else do the driving! This luxurious party bus can be hired to take you and a group of friends on an epic tour of local dispensaries and cultivation facilities.
Oakland Cannabis Events — Annual and Regular
- Puff, Pass and Paint – At Oakland Cannabis Creative, you can take a class on painting, pottery or making pastry in a 420-friendly environment.
- Oaksterdam University – Visitors can see the Cannabis Museum and browse an extensive collection of books at the nation’s leading educational center for the cannabis industry.
- First Friday Cannabis Social – Hosted by the East Bay Canna Community, this informal event takes place on the shore of Lake Merritt on the first Friday of every month. Sign up for the newsletter to receive the exact time and place, go meet friendly locals and learn about the scene.
Best Oakland Munchies
- Late Night Bites – Rosamunde Sausages in downtown’s historic Swan Marketplace is one of the best late-night options for munchies like loaded chili cheese fries or succulent artisanal sausages.
- Fun Beer Garden – Lost and Found boasts 21 taps of craft beer, plus a fun outdoor beer garden with ping pong and other games. Front patio is dog-friendly, and there’s plenty of vegetarian food options.
- Amazing Brunch – Grand Lake Kitchen will satiate your morning cravings, with savory french toast, bottomless mimosas and delicious breakfast sandwiches, right near Lake Merritt.
- Quality Bagels – Beauty’s Bagels on Telegraph will satisfy even picky New Yorkers with their wood-fired bagels and excellent array of toppings. As a bonus, check out the funky Wild Child boutique next door for vintage clothing and feminist witch supplies.
Oakland Cannabis Etiquette
On the Street
It’s still illegal to smoke in public and violators risk a ticket and fine of up to $100, or even more if they’re near a school. However, the smell of cannabis is common in Oakland, especially around Lake Merritt. Avoid lighting up in places where kids and families congregate, and be respectful of others who may not want to inhale secondhand smoke.
Inside Cannabis Retail Stores
- You’ll be carded at the door to ensure you’re over 21.
- Expect your personal information to be entered into the dispensary computer system, since all retailers are required to track how much people purchase. You’re limited to one ounce of cannabis flowers and 8 grams of concentrates per day, which is way more than you’ll need, unless you’re hanging with Snoop Dogg.
- Don’t use your phone to take photos without asking first. Many stores do not want people taking pictures, especially of other patrons.
- While in line, browse the menu boards and prepare a mental list of the products you’d like to see. Your cannabis consultant will answer all of your questions and pull jars of buds for you to smell.
- It’s considered polite to tip your consultant a dollar or two, especially if service was stellar, and you sniffed so many jars that the consultation took more than 15 minutes.
Oakland Cannabis Timeline
- 2004 – Oakland citizens approve Measure Z, which made cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority in the city. Already, Prop 215 in 1996 had legalized medical marijuana statewide, but Measure Z allowed the City to advocate for further regulation of cannabis-related business.
- 2006 – Steve DeAngelo founds Harborside Health Center, the largest cannabis dispensary at the time of its opening, which became a model for how professional weed-buying should look and feel.
- 2007 – Richard Lee opens Oaksterdam University, a groundbreaking training center for people seeking to work in the medical marijuana industry. This institution sparks the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood, attracting other cannabis businesses.
- 2010 – Prop 19, an initiative known as the Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act, backed by Richard Lee, qualifies for the ballot statewide. It failed with 53.5 percent of California voters voting “No.”
- 2012 – On April 2, Oaksterdam was raided by the IRS and DEA, who seized bank accounts, cannabis plants, computers and records related to the university as well as Richard Lee’s other businesses. No charges were filed, but the raid caused Lee to retreat from public life and activism.
- 2012 – Harborside is targeted by Northern District of California US Attorney Melinda Haag, who attempts to use civil asset forfeiture to close the dispensary, sparking a court battle. The City of Oakland supported Harborside, and charges were eventually dropped in 2016.
- 2016 – The Oakland Museum of Art opens “Altered State: Marijuana in California,” an award-winning exhibition of cannabis history, culture and science, that encourages greater understanding of the herb’s important place in society.
- 2017 – The Hood Incubator launches in Oakland in response to the racial disparity in legal cannabis business ownership. Founded by Biseat Horning, Ebele Ifedigbo, and Lanese Martin, this non-profit organization is rooted in a commitment to racial and economic justice, working to empower black communities adversely impacted by the war on drugs. Together with the Oakland City Council, the Hood Incubator is implementing the nation’s first cannabis equity program designed to support entrepreneurs.
- 2018 – On January 1, Steve DeAngelo sells the first legal gram of “adult-use” cannabis in California to lawyer Henry Wykowski at Harborside as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act takes effect statewide.