Purple Star MD was the second spot I checked out after I got my Medical Marijuana ID card in early 2015. Since I was relatively new to the whole experience of sauntering inside an actual “store” with an actual “cash register” and actual “patrons” AND legitimately purchasing weed I wasn’t able to adequately write a review of them until after a few months, as the entire experience, from their wonderful budtenders to their salient selection of ganja goodies, took a while to sink in. Also, since part of the meaning of this site is to bring you information about dispensaries in and around the California Bay Area, I thought I would give them a shout out as they have been cool as hell with me from jump street.
When you first hit up Purple Star you will notice it is wedged between the tapas bar El Techo De Lolinda and Elements Hotel. My first time there I had to do the standard flashing of my recommendation card and CA state ID. The guy doing security that day, Howard (who looks like he could be related to the actor Keith David) took my card and laughed when he first saw it. “Hey man, you look just like my brother Tim.” From that day on I was to be known by Howard as his brother Tim.
Upon entering Purple Star you are immediately arrested by the smell. Like some pot patrolman just smacked you in the senses with a Thai stick you can’t help but be dazed by that thick, undeniable odor of fresh cannabis.
The second thing you notice is the dimensions of the place itself. Purple Star MD is a size of a matchbox, the size your grandmother and grandfather may have gotten their muggles in back in the day.
Once inside you will be instructed to have a seat on a ratty leather couch and fill out the appropriate paperwork. After that is completed you’ll be invited to a singular glass counter-top that display an assortment of weed infused edibles, tinctures, hashes, waxes and a handful of devices to smoke or vaporizer said weed medley, albeit thrown in as somewhat of an awkwardly placed afterthought. Behind the counter-top is where you will find huge mason jars jutting like staffs of kyrptonite, brimming with all your favorite strains (which are in semi-frequent rotation) and a short Latino dude with a huge rectangular tub of shake in front of him casually rolling complimentary joints (more about that later). There’s also one non-functioning restroom towards the back, so don’t go incontinent, and a ATM with a fairly reasonable service charge. Now that we’ve got the layout down let’s get to the good shit, the pro’s and con’s of the place:
- PRICE: Did I mention this place has BOGO’s (Buy one Get One) like fucking Payless Shoe store? Do you realize that when I realized that I almost stopped going anyplace else? ALMOST. You can get BOGO’s on most hashes, most waxes and some select strains. Not only that they have $10 grams and $25 eights (which are 8ths of a fairly decent rotation of strains) as well as their own “Purple Star Blend” for $20, which is a hit or miss mix of whatever fell to the cutting room floor. Also with each purchase, you should get a complimentary joint. I repeat, with each purchase YOU SHOULD GET A COMPLIMENTARY JOINT. If you don’t, just ask!
- SELECTION: I could go on at length about all their delicious Indica’s and Sativa’s and Hybrid’s and Jetta’s but that’s what links are for. I will say however you won’t be disappointed. While I have heard some complain that their selection is lacking, I personally have always found what I was looking for (or something similar that I equally enjoyed). That being said I think they have something for everyone within price range, as you can easily get grams of your favorite top-shelf strains as well.
- STAFF: Maaaaan the staff at Purple Star are on point. No sleepy-eyed aloof stoners there. Uh-un. Knowledgeable, patient and most of all friendly. The staff there actually know my name…from time to time. I feel like Norm in Cheers except Norm is a 6’2 black weed smoker instead of a fat, white, moribund alcoholic.
- LOCATION: Does location matter in a dispensary? Eh kind of. Most weed consumers don’t like to go on expeditions to get their product, just like most people don’t like to go across town to get their groceries. So if you’re a Mission resident, or like me, just hooked, Purple Star is located on 2520 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110 between 21st St & 22nd St.
- PUNCHCARDS: One novel incentive Purple Star has is their punchcard, where you get one punch per $100 or more purchase. 10 punches on your card equal one free 8th. Now while I get what they’re trying to achieve here, I still feel $1,000 worth of customer loyalty is worth a bit more than one free 8th. I say a half-ounce at least of decent herb should be standard, or at least some balloons falling from the ceiling or singing clowns or some shit-something more for when they ring up your qualifying purchase.
- DELIVERY: This is more a personal gripe of mine. I live in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco, which is the predominately Black, Asian, and Hispanic working-class section of the city. It also seems to be the neighborhood that time forgot, or at least the last 6 of San Francisco Mayor’s, as its resources are scattered. They’re there mind you, just not apparent. But I digress, on Purple Stars website they state minimum deliveries for most if not all of San Francisco was $60. Guess which neighborhood wasn’t?
What was that song Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s Ain’t Easy Being Green?” Bullshit. For the folks at Purple Star, it is. They’ve found that perfect balance of what a professional and consumer-oriented marijuana business should look like, and they’re making money while doing it (I should know, I give them a lot of mine). They also give their money back. Check this out.
Hi, my name is Petey Wheatstraw. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 1996.