There’s no shortage of cannabis dispensaries in Southern California, that’s for sure. Checking sites like Yelp or Weedmaps shows a wide variety of options in Irvine and just outside, with unlicensed and illegal stores often showing up in the results.
When you’re going cannabis shopping, you should be provided with good customer service and be able to trust that you’re getting a safe product. You don’t have to buy your weed on the black market anymore. You definitely don’t have to visit an industrial warehouse staffed by extremely tense people who make you turn off your phone and offer a “donation”. If you’re going to the right places, buying weed is as easy, pleasant, and satisfying as visiting a Starbucks.
Legal cannabis stores offer a much better shopping experience, and they’re also better for your health. Legal weed shops have to adhere to Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) regulations, which exist to make sure that marijuana is safe for consumers. Cannabis products have to be lab-tested for heavy metals and other toxins before they can be sold on the legal market.
But what if they have unsafe levels of pesticides or other chemicals? Well, that marijuana product can’t be sold on the legal market. To comply with current regulations, it should be thrown out–unfortunately, it can often end up being sold in unlicensed marijuana dispensaries instead. If you’re buying vape carts or cannabis flower from places that aren’t actually properly licensed, you’re putting your own health at risk.
Currently, the only city in Orange County that allows legal weed stores to operate is Santa Ana. You can find a Santa Ana dispensary online, but check to make sure that it’s licensed. Once you find a good option, visit their website and see if they can deliver your weed to your doorstep. Several high-end cannabis stores, such as People’s OC, even offer free delivery to Irvine and other neighboring cities.
Be careful: If you live in Irvine, googling “marijuana delivery near me” or similar phrases could turn up some not-so-legal results. While licensed cannabis stores can deliver to Irvine, they are not allowed to have a physical location within city borders.
Here’s are some tips to find a legal cannabis retail location:
- Find the store’s BCC license number. This should be displayed on their Weedmaps profile or at the bottom of their official website. If you can’t find the license number anywhere, then it’s probably not a legal store. All California dispensaries are required to post that information publicly.
- Cross-check the license number on the BCC website. The Bureau of Cannabis Control has a search form on their website that allows you to make sure the license number is real, corresponds to the right location, and that the store is still in good standing with California regulations.
- Check the store’s status. The BCC website will show the store’s license number, license type, and other information, including their status and expiration date. Make sure the status column says “active”, and that the expiration date is still in the future.
- Double-checking by address. If you weren’t able to find the store by its license number or if you just want to double-check, try searching by address instead to see what comes up.
Once you find a legal weed dispensary, you’re good to go. We recommend visiting People’s OC, located right off the 55 freeway near Irvine. Their promo code sales make holiday shopping easy, and the wide range of products they sell means that you can always find something for everyone. CBD cream for Mom? Peanut butter cookies? It’s all there–just make sure you give the Irvine Weekly and L.A. Weekly a shout-out when you visit.