I'm standing outside the nondescript Peace in Medicine dispensary, which neighbors boutique Gravenstein Station in Sebastopol, waiting for my turn to purchase legal, recreational cannabis for the first time in California.
While I mill about on the patio with a handful of other folks who couldn't fit in the packed waiting room, an elderly lady walks up and asks the group, "Is this a restaurant?"
"No, ma'am," we all murmur while not revealing the real purpose of our milling—which now that I think about it, really did resemble a brunch line.
"I didn't think so," she exclaims as she walks back toward Gravenstein Station.
"What's in here will make you want to go to a restaurant, though," says a young guy with a smile aimed our way. Everyone nods approvingly.
So it goes on Jan. 2, the second day since Proposition 64 went into effect. There are lots of people asking questions and lots of sly smiles as folks exit the dispensary with their plain white envelopes full of recreational and, presumably, medicinal cannabis.
Though I sense that I avoided an onslaught of business on Jan. 1, the line is still out the door. Peace in Medicine's Sebastopol location is one of three spots that began selling recreational cannabis for adult use on New Year's Day, with Mercy Wellness in Cotati and Solful in Sebastopol being the other two, and it seems many in the county are quick to take advantage of it.
What strikes me while I wait—first to give the desk attendant at Peace in Medicine my ID for input in their database, and next for space to become available in the dispensary's shop, which is separated from the waiting room by a second door—is the diverse makeup of the people gathered together. Yes, there are "typical" stoner-looking people in sweat pants (thanks for dressing up for the occasion) and shaggy-haired guys who might have come straight from Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine, but there's also the athletic-looking middle-aged man who probably biked here from across the county, and elderly grandmothers and 20-something couples who maybe spent the morning slinging lattes at the cafe. Seems like everyone's at least curious about cannabis.
Inside the shop, the displays cleanly and clearly offer information on the individual strains, effects, THC and CBD content and cost. The attendants at the counter are patient and friendly, and though I don't browse for long, I happily leave with my own little white envelope.
And don't worry, Mom: I was there for journalistic purposes only.