As California’s adult-use legalization system comes fully online, Leafly asked me to undertake a detailed survey of the best products available at licensed dispensaries and make suggestions in four key categories. This was a huge task given that the state ranks as the world’s ninth largest economy, and is by far the largest legal cannabis market on earth. Northern California in particular boasts a long and distinguished track record of cannabis innovation and excellence, from the famed growers of Humboldt County to the new-wave tech-influenced brands emerging in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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I relied on my 15 years of experience as a dedicated cannabis reporter—including stints as head of content at High Times and a columnist and frequent contributor at VICE—to identify top contenders among NorCal’s finest flowers, concentrates, topicals, and edibles. Then I reached out to a few leading experts in each field to widen my knowledge base and get hip to new and emerging trends. Still, like any such endeavor, this is a subjective list, and some incredible products didn’t make the cut simply because they’re available in such limited supply.

Did I miss something amazing? Undoubtedly. So please feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@pot_handbook).

Lead image by kropic/iStock