Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iPad Weed Menus Added to Harborside San Jose

By David Downs
Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 10:08 AM

San Jose has gone from zero clubs to more than one hundred in the last two years, a rise so dramatic that it’s siphoned off business from Oakland’s biggest dispensary, Harborside Health Center.

But Harborside is not content with being cut out, so it’s been beefing up a San Jose location of its own. That location is starting to find its groove this fall after winning third first place in the recent High Times San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup’s Indica category for “Boggle Gum.”

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Legalization Nation hit the road recently to check out Harborside San Jose, and found a clean-smelling, professionally run, high-tech spot that’s among the least shady ways to buy cannabis.

First off, nobody walks in San Jose, so expect to drive and find ample parking in the business park that's home to Harborside in the northeastern section of the city.

Two security guards greet guests, and on a recent Friday afternoon, the dispensary was bustling with forty-year-old dudes in sandals and T-shirts, younger gents in urban attire, and a smattering of adventurous female patients. The theme is "groovy office space," with rattan rugs and drop ceiling tile. The metal detector occasionally beeps in time to the downtempo beat of Thievery Corporation.

New patients need a valid recommendation and state ID, and take a ten-minute orientation that ends at the waiting line, which is often ten people deep and moves slower than a bank. But that’s because the counter-people gladly walk newbies through the enormous menu. To aid customers choosing edibles, Harborside San Jo rocks iPads linked to StickyGuide at the counters, and the club is also considering using the technology in the line as well, so everyone can peruse menus while they wait.

Harborside used to post its menus on mounted flat-screen TVs, according to one of the dispensary’s senior salespeople, Amanda, but the menus couldn’t keep up with supplies. Coveted varietals turn over very fast, and top-sellers like the award-winning Boggle Gum can only be obtained by those lucky enough to catch a tweet of it and rush down. (SarahD has a review.)

Like all clubs in the South Bay, Harborside San Jose has a cloudy future. Though the clubs have paid $1.25 million in local sin taxes to the deficit-ridden city since March, the City Council is currently mulling a plan to close them all and make them apply for ten permits. That plan returns to council this fall, but it could drag into next year’s local elections, according to Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition spokesman Dave Hodges, head of the dispensary A2C2.

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