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Before marijuana was accepted as a culturally iconic symbol of hype growers and massive product drops, we had medical marijuana plus dispensary exclusives; getting your med card California was an obvious choice.

Let’s start with the years of 2009 – 2010 which was a BIG transitional period for marijuana as it became more and more accepted in the mainstream. Living in California, I’ve been exposed to weed since a youth, from being aware of family members using it, to trying it for the first time in middle school. 2009, in particular, was a year that heavily influenced my personal use, but the culture as a whole was also majorly affected. Back then we didn’t have exotic strains, you either had top shelf or mids. Nothing else or in-between.

The most popular strains that existed in the Bay Area at that time were Grand Daddy Purple, Northern Lights, White Widow, OG Kush, Headband, Blue Dream, etc. More of the novelty type strains that don’t get much attention nowadays because everyone is looking for a terp profile (even though most people don’t even know what a good profile is) and nice packaging (instead of high-quality growers).

White Widow


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“They call it White Widow because after 3 hits, you’re going to want to clean your house.” – Leafly User 😂

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Blue Dream


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#ElksDream #BlueDream grown by @elkhornranch #doublecup65 #420 #dsybot #hightimes #cannabiscommunity #cannabiseducation

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I was sick of getting my weed off the streets and wanted to cut the middle man out of the picture when I would want a solid selection to choose from at the med shop, so I decided to get my own med card California. My friends had always told me how easy it was, but I was still nervous thinking that no way in hell would I get “approved’ for a medical marijuana card. When I stepped into the lobby of the doctor’s office I remember the movie Knocked Up with Seth Rogen playing and about 12-15 other people in the room.

I checked in at the front desk where I was asked to fill out some paperwork on a clipboard and was reminded that it’s cash only. Little did I know that this paperwork was just about the only evaluation I would be getting. Besides all the basic information like name and address, it asked why I needed Medical Marijuana, with a group of multiple choice answers such as Insomnia, Eating Disorders, Anxiety, etc. I checked off Insomnia and Anxiety thinking that was easy enough to claim and waited. Once I looked up from my paperwork I realized that more than half the room had already finished.

Soon enough my name was called and I walked into the back room with my paperwork and handed it to the doctor. I remember this being the only time we made eye contact. He skimmed through the paperwork to make sure everything was filled out, and when he got to the page that I marked Anxiety and Insomnia he signed it and said $60 up front. That was it, I paid my $60 and instantly had a doctors recommendation and card to visit any dispensary in California. Me and my friends also liked to consider it a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Just in case, even though none of us knew anyone who ever went to actual jail for marijuana possession at the time, it was still illegal and a $100 fine to anyone over 18 in possession of an ounce or less. Like I remember getting pulled over in a homies vehicle (with possession of marijuana) and the cop asked us if anyone had a marijuana card. Upon presenting it, they ignored the topic for the rest of the stop.

With this under my belt, I was finally ready to make my own visit to the med shop and to acquire as many goodies as I could. At the time, most med shops in the area were similar when it came to policy and pricing. 8ths were around $40-$50 and ounces were around $220-$280 USD. Pretty much everything was top shelf quality, but again, it was top shelf quality for something like Blue Dream or Headband. What we were looking for was rich trichomes, freshness, and colour. Back then you really had to be there in person seeing the flower, feeling the flower, and getting your nose right up in there and smelling that nose profile.

Me and the homies were also into things that photographed well for our blog (you’ll find out more about this in the next episode of my story). What was hyped was “purps” or any type of weed that had purple hues in the nugs, or when broken down. I remember buying a quarter of some of the freshest Grand Daddy Purple I’ve ever smoked, along with another quarter of my personal favourite, OG Kush. Side note, did you know OG Kush is the backbone of West Coast genetics? A true classic.

Head Shops

Before I could enjoy what I came up on, I wanted to stock up on ways to smoke. The local head shop was my next stop. Up N Smoke had and still to this day has one of the best selections in the South Bay Area for smokers. They’ve grown into a glass gallery with some really limited pieces, but back when I first got my med card all I cared about was joints and blunts. This was still the time before Raw Papers took over on the west coast, so I was buying bleached Zig Zags in the orange pack and lots of Swisher Sweets. It was common for my group to buy the box of 50 or 100 at a time and go through it within a week. So that’s exactly what I remember doing, buying a whole box of Swishers and some papers anxious to mix the GDP and OG and roll up.

med card california head shop

2009 was the beginning of the bar changing for my personal taste level and expectations from all things marijuana. What year was it for you?