As of January 1, 2018, Los Angeles became the largest—albeit the most dysfunctional—legal cannabis marketplace in the world. There’s 18.8 million people in the greater Los Angeles area, plus Hollywood, and the music industry, all powering a cannabis culture that influences the globe. But owing to local government stasis, there’s just 135 legal stores.
Stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the San Gabriel Mountains, with the Santa Monica Mountains snaking through the city, Los Angeles is gloriously diverse in geography, architecture, food, art, and culture. It’s too diverse to tackle in one go, or even multiple visits.
The Southern California climate is delightful—most days are sunny and warm, with gentle ocean breezes in the summer. This is the city that gave rise to the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” And you’ll find some of the best cannabis in the world here.
Step aside, Frommer’s Guide—Leafly has all the info you need to get oriented. Let’s dive into the sprawling, eclectic center of the City of Angels: Downtown Los Angeles, or DTLA.
Leafly’s Map of Downtown Los Angeles Marijuana Stores
Los Angeles Marijuana Laws
- Cannabis is legal in California for adults ages 21 and up. Bring a valid, unexpired form of ID to get into retail stores
- It’s legal to carry up to one ounce of cannabis flower and eight grams of extract
- You can also grow six cannabis plants
- You can transport cannabis as long as it is unopened. If you’re driving, lock it in the trunk of your car
- No open containers, or half-smoked joints
- No driving or boating high
- Smoking in public can result in a ticket. Smoking in hotels can result in “room cleaning fees” much higher than a ticket from the police
Top DTLA Cannabis Shops
Skip The Traffic: Sleep, play, eat, and smoke in downtown L.A. for a weekend. (iStock)
It feels like there are 200 different L.A.s inside the sprawling desert basin, and like every other neighborhood there, downtown L.A. is its own little world, trapped by the surrounding nightmarish traffic.
With a world-recognized skyline, downtown Los Angeles is a freeway-tangled assortment of areas, ranging from its vibrant fashion district to the infamous skid row. After decades of economic decline, downtown has sprung back to life, with an influx of new condos, businesses, museums, restaurants, and hotels. And, of course, legal cannabis shops!
Is This Weed Shop Legal?
With just 135 stores for a city of four million, Los Angeles has a shocking lack of legal cannabis access. So it’s no surprise the region is rife with unlicensed shops nearly indistinguishable from licensed stores. Unlicensed stores sell untested products that are often contaminated with pesticides, mold, mildew, parasites. Edibles will have incorrect dosages.
One way to know before you go: Leafly only lists licensed stores in Los Angeles. Outside a dispensary, you can always ask the guard if the store is licensed, look for the store’s license number, and other signs of legitimacy.
Best Legal Marijuana Stores in Downtown Los Angeles
Touch-screen tablets and THC test scores greet L.A. pot shoppers. (Courtesy of Medmen)
The best cannabis retailers in Los Angeles stand out for their welcoming exteriors, stylish interiors, friendly staff, deep menus, and high-quality, tested products. Check out:
- City Compassionate Caregivers—Large, clean, and well-stocked, CCC offers its own brand of flower for sale, cultivated on-site. Plus there’s plenty of parking; mandatory ‘cus nobody walks in L.A.
- Cannabal City Collective—Cannabal City’s knowledgeable staff and well-curated showroom make for a pleasant shopping experience. Choose from an array of products plus the in-house 3C Farms line
- Los Angeles Farmers—Home to the famed Jungle Boys cannabis line. Lovers of cannabis’ aroma — aka ‘terp nerds’ — will be in heaven here
- DTPG—With its chill atmosphere, good prices and great selection of products, DTPG is a perennial downtown favorite
- MedMen DTLA—MedMen operates several locations throughout the city. This sleek downtown store carries popular products. Good for novices
Los Angeles Marijuana Delivery
Adults 21 and older can legally order cannabis for delivery in California, under 2016’s legalization Proposition 64. Many brick and mortar stores offer delivery, plus delivery-only dispensaries are flourishing. The consumer experience ranges from online shopping like Amazon, to ordering a pizza. Here’s some go-to cannabis couriers:
- HERB—Responsibly grown, locally sourced cannabis at good prices with a quick delivery time
- Organic Kind—Promising an exclusively organic menu and free delivery
- Puffy—Puffy promises same-day delivery in L.A. and free shipping on orders over $50
- Goddess Delivers—An eight-year-old medical market veteran, Goddess Delivers has deep connections and discerning buyers
- MCEC Delivery (medical-only)—Serving most of Southern California with over 750 menu items
Los Angeles Cannabis Etiquette
On the Street
Smoking in public can result in a ticket, similar to jaywalking. In practice, you’ll smell cannabis all over the city. Enforcement is complaint-driven and the Los Angeles Police Department has made cannabis nuisances a low priority. It’s impolite to force others to endure your secondhand smoke. Be polite. You can’t light up in bars or hotels. But you will find venues and private gatherings where it’s tolerated. Read the room and use your nose.
In Cannabis Retail Stores
- Act like it’s a bank and you’re there to make an herb withdrawal
- If you’re in a hurry? Use Leafly Pickup to order ahead
- Be prepared to show ID. Bring cash to avoid high ATM or debit fees
- Expect your info to be added to the store’s house system. It’s how they enforce state-mandated personal sales limits
- Mind your own business. Some stores don’t want you using your phone. Definitely don’t take selfies or pictures of others. Act like you’ve been there before
- At the counter, ask as many questions as you need to. Don’t feel rushed
- Don’t rush others. Don’t crowd the counter. Wait until the budtender is done with the person in front of you
Los Angeles Cannabis Shopping Tips
- $10-$20—one gram of flower, or a pre-roll
- $30-$80—one eighth-ounce of flower (3.5 grams; one-finger bag)
- $75-$150— one quarter-ounce of flower (7 grams; two-finger bag)
- $140-$200—one half-ounce of flower (14 grams; quarter of a sandwich bag)
- $250-$500—ounce of flower and a pretty rowdy time in L.A.
- $25-$80—extract, per gram
- $20-$60—edibles, per package
- $20-$60—vape cartridges, per cart
Taxes play a key role in price so ask your budtender if the prices listed are ‘out the door’, that is, “after tax.” Taxes in Los Angeles include a:
- 15% state excise tax
- 10% city excise tax
- 9.5% combined city-state sales tax
That’s a whopping total tax of 34.5%. Bogus! Some stores offer the first sale to a new customer tax-free.
Former hmbldt brand vape pens Dosist are thriving in a regulated market. (Jennifer Seo/LAPCG)
In California there is no difference between licensed “medical” and “recreational,” or adult-use, cannabis products. They both undergo the same testing for purity and potency.
- If you’re a novice cannabis user, test out products for the skin—called topicals—from brands like Whoopi & Maya, Mary’s Medicinals, or Papa & Barkley
- No joint-rolling skills? No problem. “Pre-rolls” are a great way to go if you’ve never bought flower. You can buy singles or packs of pre-rolls from a variety of great companies like Lowell Farms, and Canndescent
- Worried about overdoing it? Dosist vape pens are popular with novice consumers. They’re designed to deliver a controlled 2.25 mg dose of cannabis’ main active ingredient, THC, with each pull
For Confident Consumers
- Branch out and try a new strain of flower. Local cannabis celebs the Jungle Boys offer up famed L.A. cannabis strains at the Los Angeles Farmers dispensary
- Sample vape cartridges from brands like Kingpen and HoneyVape
- Try edibles from companies like 3Leaf, OM Edibles and Korova
For Serious Cannasseurs
- Drop some cash on high-potency, uber-tasty extracts from Raw Garden, Nativ, or Exclusive Melts
- Check out designer, high-THC flowers from growers like Cannabiotix or Nameless Genetics
- Blow your wad on a fat Artisan Canna Cigar—$200 gets you a party-sized 3.5 grams of flower rolled up with multiple extracts. It burns for over an hour, getting the whole entourage lit
Top Cannabis Strains of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Cannabis Activities
Cannabis Tours and Regular Events
- Green Tours—Sit back and let Green Tours take you to a farm, a shop, a glass-blowing demo, and some pretty views. Meet Tommy Chong for $179
- Ganja Yoga—Smoke and stretch with the crew that started a movement and published the book to prove it
- Puff, Pass & Paint—This national arts events franchise includes weekly events in lala land
Legal Los Angeles Marijuana Bars? Not Yet
The City of West Hollywood is the only city in the Los Angeles area that permits lounges or “on-site consumption”, but no lounges are open yet. Elsewhere in the city, you’ll definitely smell cannabis wafting through the air, but you can only smoke in private homes. Whether you’re a medical or recreational user, it is illegal to consume cannabis in public. Smoking in public can result in a ticket, similar to jaywalking.
Fun Things to Do in DTLA
Great Munchies of Downtown Los Angeles
Los Angeles Cannabis History
- 1914—One of the first cannabis raids in the US occurs in L.A.’s Mexican-American neighborhood of Sonoratown, where police raided two gardens and confiscated a wagonload of cannabis
- 1996—Medical marijuana becomes legal in California under Proposition 215
- 2003—Medical marijuana dispensaries begin to proliferate across L.A. after the passage of Senate Bill 420, which adds collectives to Prop 215’s personal medical defense against prosecution for cultivating marijuana
- 2004-2007—Los Angeles law enforcement play a game of Whac-a-mole, shutting down clubs that quickly re-open nearby
- 2007—Los Angeles passes an Interim Control Ordinance that allows about 135 medical dispensaries to legally operate
- 2010—A federal medical cannabis crackdown includes a local one in L.A.; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decriminalizes personal possession of cannabis; Los Angeles struggles to control more than 1,000 dispensaries and delivery services operating without licensure
- 2015—California legislators regulate medical cannabis retail, calling for dual local and state licensure
- 2016—Californians legalize adult-use cannabis under Proposition 64
- 2017—The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation is established, with Cat Packer appointed to serve as its first-ever executive director
- 2018—On Jan. 1, adult use sales begin statewide, with Los Angeles sitting on the sidelines due to licensure delays
- 2019—Final adult use cannabis rules go into effect while Los Angeles continues to struggle with licensing enough stores, and licensing farms. An illicit market flourishes