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Licensed vs. Unlicensed Dispensaries in San Diego

The legalization of cannabis in California brought with it many changes in the industry including higher taxes, updated rules and regulations, new mandatory three-stage product testing, and plenty of confusion as to what is and is not allowed in the industry.

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control is now heading up the organization of the state’s cannabis market by regulating and monitoring the production and sale of cannabis products. The Bureau is also responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing labs, microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events. This means that they are also in charge, along with the DOI-CEU and its other constituents, of figuring out what to do about manufacturers and retailers who continue to operate without licenses and refuse to conform to the modern laws and regulations of 2019.

In San Diego alone, there are still hundreds of delivery-only dispensaries, and dozens of storefronts alike operating illegally, so what exactly are the differences between licensed and unlicensed shops? Lets discuss two important areas!


Licensed retail cannabis storefronts in San Diego may only sell products which have passed through the three stages of BCC required testing.

Stage One includes Cannabinoid Testing, Moisture Content Testing, Category II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing, Category I Residual Pesticides Testing, Microbial Impurities Testing (A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, A. terreus), Microbial Impurities Testing (Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp.), Homogeneity Testing of Edible Cannabis Products. To summarize, this stage of tests is mainly to determine exact levels of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, etc.) as well as to make sure there are no known harmful molds or other microbial contaminants in the products.

Stage Two includes Category I Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing, Category II Residual Pesticides Testing, and Foreign Material Testing. To summarize, these tests help to determine whether harmful and poisonous pesticides or additives were used in the process of producing the cannabis products.

Stage Three includes Terpenoids Testing, Mycotoxins Testing, Heavy Metals Testing, and Water Activity Testing of Solid or Semi-Solid Edibles. This stage is crucial regarding vape cartridges, as testing laboratories around the state are reporting the finding of toxic metals in some cartridges, which are then rejected and sent back to the manufacturer.

These standards of testing are extremely important to ensure that cannabis consumers are getting the safest possible products. Since unlicensed dispensaries do not follow all of the processes required by those which are licensed, the products you purchase from them could contain pesticides, molds, and other harmful contaminants which can damage the brain and body.

Additionally, stage I of testing is instrumental to finding out the true cannabinoid percentages of the products you’re consuming. Advertised percentages of cannabis products from unlicensed shops are nearly always inaccurate, because they aren’t required to test per batch of products. In other words, if an unlicensed shop says their Banana OG is testing at 30% THC, there’s really no way to tell if that’s true because there’s no way to show accountability. Licensed shops must be provided with certificates of analysis proving full testing has been completed on each batch of products which comes into the store.



Licensed shops in San Diego are now required to collect a 27.75% total tax on all products in the store, including paraphernalia and accessories. Broken down, 15% goes to the California excise tax, 7.75% goes to the state sales tax, and San Diego takes a city tax of 5%. Although nobody likes to pay more for things, other states have shown us what sort of positive impact cannabis taxes can have on the economy!

For example, in Aurora, CO over $1,500,000 in cannabis tax revenue has been invested directly into combatting homelessness by providing shelters, meals, an basic essentials. In Pueblo County, CO local marijuana taxes have paid for over $600,000 student scholarships for the past three years. Colorado as a state voted on amendment 64, which allocated the first $40,000,000 collected in excise taxes directly towards the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) program.

Washington has focused most of their tax dollars on public health. Financial assistance has partly been aimed at substance abuse programs, and mainly allocated towards paying the state’s share of Medicaid, which provides health insurance to roughly 1.8 million low-income residents of the state. They are also in the process of creating a plan to divide portions of cannabis tax towards k-12 schools, in an effort to hire more faculty and provide supplies for classrooms!

Here in California, Governor Jerry Brown estimated that in 2018 California would bring in an estimated $645 million in cannabis tax revenues, when actually we fell short earning nearly half that at $345 million. So why is that? A large chunk of that has to do with unlicensed storefronts absorbing much of the local cannabis business due to their low prices and tax free visits. If they aren’t paying taxes, all of the money goes into the pockets of the owners rather than being redistributed into state and county funding.

Another key element to the missing revenue is the lack of licenses being distributed for potentially lucrative businesses and events like smoke lounges and festivals. Some cities around California have locations where cannabis users can go to safely and comfortably consume, which is huge for out of state visitors. Tourists and visitors come from other states to San Diego to vacation and experience cannabis while they visit, but if they purchase something to smoke, finding a legal place to smoke it can be difficult. Public consumption is still illegal, most hotels forbid smoking (especially weed), if you smoke in your vehicle you risk a ticket or worse. San Diego city officials have discussed plans to offer designated places to consume, but haven’t released any official notice of permission as of yet.

In the end we can agree the start for recreational cannabis in California has been a bit rough, but what truly matters to most is getting clean, safe products to enjoy! Cannabis still has so much to offer the community economically, socially, and medicinally, and we’ve only just begun.







CBD and San Diego: 3 Questions

The CBD Molecule.

The CBD Molecule.

Where can I find flower high in Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD?

If you are a resident of San Diego, CA or Chula Vista, CA, a quick scan of the weedmaps.com menus from the top 3 Chula Vista, Ca, USA storefront marijuana dispensaries will yield you minimal results. You can find the highest lab tested strains reaching a benchmark high of 0.1% CBD in their flowers. It is not only important that a shop carry these high Cannabidiol (CBD) flowers for their patients, it is also important that they are quality assured and lab tested by the shop and the vendor.

Why is Cannabidiol an important component of cannabis flowers and who will gain the most benefit from these breeds of cannabis?

You can find a great discussion of cannabinoids on these two websites: Mary’s Medicinals and the CBD Project. In summary: CBD is a prime ingredient in medical cannabis flowers along with THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. It has range of medical benefits which have been discovered through testing on animals. They include: suppressing seizures, reducing nausea and combating psychosis and inflammation. It has been also shown to be effective treatment against cancer/tumors, as a general anti-oxidant and finally CBD has been shown as an effective anti-depressant. To highlight the importance of this new and upcoming molecule here is a quote from the Project CBD website: “CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere.”

Popular strain Pennywise, bred by TGA - Subcool right here in Southern California.

Popular strain Pennywise, bred by TGA – Subcool right here in Southern California.

How easy are these flowers to find?

CBD rich flowers are available in most areas and states where there is a medical marijuana program in place. At A Green Alternative we recognize and embrace this trend in the cannabis industry. We are continually including these lab tested flowers on our menu. Some strains in the past include “Pennywise” and “Medical Mass” which have both tested above 10% total CBD content. We currently have our house strain “Edith G”, a sativa which tested back just under 13% CBD.

As the breeders continue to develop strains that are high in this component, A Green Alternative will acquire the newest and highest quality CBD flowers.  If you are wondering where to find the best CBD flower and products available come see our selection at A Green Alternative!

A Smooth Delivery: Placing your first MMJ Delivery

A Smooth Delivery: Placing your first MMJ Delivery

So you have decided to try out a medical cannabis delivery service? That’s great news, you are about to embark on a journey of minimal effort and handsome reward! In this blog I’m going to describe the process and make a few suggestions that can help to make your delivery arrive happily and conveniently. While this may be your first MMJ delivery we have been through the procedure many many times, we are delivery professionals!

Prior to calling in, you may view and shop our online menu at your convenience on our website agreenalternative.org. We also keep current menus on Weedmaps and Leafly. These websites are updated daily to keep you conversant with our current strains and our latest product arrivals. After you’ve done some research, you are ready to make the call.

Our customer associates are always ready to help!

Our customer associates are always ready to help!

There are two documents you should have on hand when you make the call: your California doctors recommendation and your California license. One of our customer associates will put your information into our system: your name, address, phone number, driver’s license information and your MMJ Registry information. After this please ask us any questions you may have about our products. There is no rush or time limit at all when dealing with any of our staff at A Green Alternative.

Orders waiting to reach their destination.

Orders waiting to reach their destination.

After you’ve made your selections you will be asked what time is best for us to arrive with your delivery. You can schedule your order to arrive any time between our store hours are from 9 am – 9 pm Monday through Saturday and 10am-8pm on Sundays. We are happy accommodate each individuals schedule whether you need your order immediately, or if you prefer it to arrive at future day and time.

After you’ve scheduled the delivery all you need more to do wait. We will handle the rest.

Sample Receipt.

Sample Receipt.

Shortly before the scheduled time your driver will give you a call to confirm that you it’s okay for them to head your way. When they arrive at your abode, if you are a first time patient, the driver will need to take a photograph of your California license and your California MMJ recommendation.

We currently are only able to accept cash for your order and our drivers do not carry change with them. After receiving your delivery please review your experience at our Google Page or our Yelp Page. We love to know how we’re doing!

At A Green Alternative MMCC you are also always welcome to come visit our storefront at 2335 Roll Drive Suite #5. This takes out a lot of the guesswork when making your selection.

Yes! A Green Alternative Delivers!

Yes! A Green Alternative Delivers!

We’re going the extra mile for our medical marijuana (MMJ) patients! Since A Green Alternative™ opened doors in March 2015, we have delivered to more than 30 communities in San Diego county. We were the first legal dispensary in San Diego, and remain open. As you can see from our Facebook page, we’ve been a boppin’ busy bunch of dispensary associates, delivering medical marijuana products from top quality producers and vendors both in store and across town. We’ve been having a great time getting to know our wonderful patients and our diverse products.

A Green Alternative™ Delivers MMJ

Our MMJ patients enjoy having guaranteed high quality product from our premier dispensary delivered direct to their door. No need to leave the house to travel across town to get to our Otay Mesa location, just give us a call to arrange a delivery. We will deliver clear out to Del Mar and Mira Mesa, La Jolla, and Point Loma — no problem. Our drivers are friendly, professional, and safe representatives of our top tier dispensary, and they are just as concerned with your health as they are with great cannabis. After all, A Green Alternative™ is a medical marijuana dispensary, run under the vision of the legendary Dr. David Blair. It’s important to us that our patients feel well taken care of, and that their medical marijuana needs are safely met.

Quality Marijuana Delivery Selection

Speaking of great cannabis, we offer everything from PharmLab tested Indicas, Sativas, and hybrids from our member vendors, to tinctures and edibles like candies and butters, to topical creams. Some of our most popular brands are Dr. Blair’s Incredible Medibles, Canna Butter, Cheeba Chews, Kiva, Edipure, and Bhang. We offer many more, and our registered patients can order online through our MMJMenu online menu.

Learn more about our delivery service by clicking here, or just give A Green Alternative a call at (844) 665-0420!

Blossom’s Delivery Service

Blossom’s Delivery Service

Dependable Medical Marijuana Delivery Service

Are you someone that needs medical marijuana to help with your daily activities but have difficulty getting to our dispensary location?

Well, welcome to A Green Alternative’s own Blossom’s Delivery Service, serving the greater San Diego County area!

We are proud to help our patients get the medicine they need in the most timely and convenient way possible. As the first licensed marijuana delivery service in the city of San Diego’s history, our cooperative believes in complete patient satisfaction and we stand behind our services with a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee.

Quality Marijuana Delivery Selection

At Blossom’s Delivery Service we offer top-shelf Sativas, Hybrids, Indicas and Edibles. We guarantee your order to be fresh upon arrival. Each strain is tested by PharmLabs to ensure the highest standard of quality and potency. Take some time to browse our menu. Members can place an order for same day delivery or schedule a delivery in the future. We pride our self on taking the extra step to assure a timely discreet delivery wherever you are in San Diego.

Blossom’s Friendly Medical Cannabis Delivery Service

Marijuana LeafWith every order, you can always expect to receive the same friendly service as when you step into our dispensary location. We are more than a “marijuana delivery service.” Our team believes in going the extra mile for our patients. If you have a question about our delivery services, menu, or if you just want to chat about cannabis, feel free to give us a call at 1 (844) 665-0420 or reach us by clicking the Contact link above.

Medical Marijuana Delivery Near Me In San Diego

We are proud to call San Diego our home, and serve our patients with the quality care, patience, and respect that we would give to family and friends. From Chula Vista to Poway from Coronado to Pacific Beach, we serve Southern California up and down the coast, we invite everyone to try the first licensed marijuana delivery service in San Diego. We offer our patients the benefit of a well-trained knowledgeable staff, personal friendly service, and a superb quality product.

What more could anyone ask for in a marijuana delivery service?

Learn more about our MMJ delivery service here.