California’s ‘Greenest’ Farmers Market

Cannabis Seshes Connect Dispensaries and Consumers

In my household, Saturdays are dedicated to farmers markets and various cannabis sessions. The mantra? Wake as early as post-Friday allows, head to Lake Merritt and pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. Oakland cannabis storefront Magnolia Wellness and San Francisco shop Harvest both host farmers markets showcasing craft cannabis companies. Before legalization these markets happened often as bi-weekly events, and it was there I met conscientious producers, befriended consumers and sampled effective medicine.

In February 2017 I visited Harvest on Geary and met Lourdes, co-founder of the family-ownedStagecoach Ranch. Her son Ron, a grower, designed a strain and named it after her. Lourdes hand-trims all their gorgeous flower and has a deep connection to the strain. The first time I smoked Lourdes with the DOPE crew, intuition drove her to call my cell, sensing our session.

Farmers Market Cannabis Seshes

While Lourdes trimmed her namesake flowers, she reminisced with me. “The farmers market community was so healing, so much about love—all good, all the way around. I looked forward to my weekends at Magnolia Oakland and at Harvest . . . we would have the dab rig going and meet wonderful people.”

Like many small-batch cultivators in California, Stagecoach Ranch is between times, out of touch with dispensaries and events, waiting for regulatory paperwork to clear while looking for affordable production space. Farmers markets helped inform people about small brands, and now people are asking, “Where are our cultivators?”

“We’re survivors, we don’t plan on going away,” declares Lourdes. “We’re doing everything we can to comply.” While waiting, they’re unable to sell their exquisite product to retail shops. “We’re all these little ants frantically running around because someone kicked our ant farm,” she explains.

Farmers Market Cannabis Seshes
Dirt Ninja Garden

This leaves many companies with few options, one being other markets known as “seshes.” Lourdes remembers her first sesh, but hasn’t been to one since discovering the farmers market. Many companies, however, consider seshes the only viable option to cycle through product.

Five Things to Bring to A Farmers Market Sesh

Don’t come unprepared—pack these five items to ensure a happy and productive Sesh!

Mouthpiece:Protection from sharing glass in public places

Reusable Bag: Bring a bag so don’t have to juggle your purchases

Business Cards: You’re going to want to keep in touch with these creators

A Friend: Friends aren’t things, they are beings, but you should bring one

Notepad: Takes notes of your experience to reference while shopping later

“I used to do [a ‘sesh’ at] Merchants of Reality on 9thand Howard [in San Francisco]—[they] used to rent that place out and do ‘seshes’ with live reggae, and seven or eight vendors. People were happy to go to a party and buy their products. There was good food,” recalls Lourdes.

Comfortable vibes at “seshes” are nothing new to the cannabis community, though they’re now considered an underground gray area. Medical markets still exist for sessions to operate, but vendors are unable to sell to the wider legal market previously available to dispensaries operating under Prop 215. Many dispensaries held off purchasing product prior to April of this year, preferring to hold off until after 4/20 due to underwhelming sales and overstaffing. These delays are suffocating small-batch producers trying to survive and support families.

Farmers Market Cannabis Seshes

Farmers markets and seshes bridge the gap between producers and consumers. Guests meet California’s finest cannabis companies; markets attract vendors from both near and far to connect with consumers, enabling shared experiences with brand representatives. Best of all, cannabis users are brought together to discuss experiences with farm-to-table products. Before legalization, dispensaries could invite new companies for a trial run, and when legalization commenced we temporarily lost these farmers markets—though they have thankfully resurfaced. These markets are a necessity, satisfying the user need for consumption sessions and shared experiences.

For more information on Cannabis Farmers Markets, visit:


Ashleigh Castro

Ashleigh Castro is a New York seed grown in the California sunshine. A photographer by nature, she developed while capturing peace rallies in San Francisco and snapping shots of musicians. She started at DOPE taking photos for DOPE Magazine as it launched in Northern California in 2015. Aesthetically, her favorite medium to shoot in is film such as 35mm and medium format. Since she studied journalism, she put her DOPEn to the paper and started writing stories about healing family through cannabis, sustainably sourced edibles and consciously created local products. Having developed obscure food allergies caused by histamine intolerance, she applies cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain, inflammation and the anxieties surrounding food intolerance. Now managing the NorCal office as well as the area’s content, you can find her on the scene with the DOPE squad or roller skating in the Bay Area’s scenic spots. Her greatest joy working at DOPE is being able to help found a Dream Team of talent and style.

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