Unobtrusive, mid-tempo tunes fill the well-lit space as natural light streams in through the translucent facade loosely based on the genetic code of THC. In a city known for its characteristically grey days, distinctly unique population and blossoming tech industry, SPARC has taken on the grand responsibility of being one of the coolest places in San Francisco to get quality medicine.
It only takes one step through the purposely transparent glass door (modeled after the first gay bar in the nation to do so, the Twin Peaks Tavern) to understand that this dispensary is passionate about providing their patients with an experience beyond just purchasing buds. Patrons happily relax in the vape lounge, a makeshift stoner cafe where people can sip tea and enjoy their purchases or personal stash in peace while they utilize the gadgets and goodies – Volcanoes, grinders and other accessories that can be checked out at the front desk. The best part is that the lounge is open to all members whether they spend their money in the dispensary or not.
“You don’t have to purchase medicine here to come in and use it,” says Joel Freston, the community liaison.
Judging by the quality and caliber of their medicine, however, it would be quite a mistake to miss out on their products. Not only does SPARC have the honor of being the first dispensary in the U.S. to be certified by Americans for Safe Access in 2009, they are also the exclusive provider of Marigold cannabis. The outdoor, greenhouse-grown buds are all from the same cultivator, a unique aspect of the brand that allows it to offer different strains with consistent quality and characteristics.
Including its Marigold offerings, SPARC boasts a daily menu that consists of nearly 50 different strains. Select offerings, such as the Cinderella 99 (a well-balanced cross between Princess and Cinderella 88) result in “sheer, content energy from head to toe,” says Premise Manager Mike Caruso.
SPARC also frequently features flowers and concentrates from the esteemed Aficionado Seeds collection. A ‘78 OG Affie from Aficionado’s 2014 offering comes priced at $45 an eighth. With Aficionado’s rate of $500 for 10 seeds of the unique strain, SPARC’s price point is a great way for patients to medicate with the boutique herb reserved for serious connoisseurs.
“This was harvested just a couple months ago,” says Caruso of the Affie while showing off its perfect crystalline buds.
In addition to their range of flowers, SPARC offers premium hashes like the amazing Oil Spill 73 micron by the Aficionado’s legendary hashian Frenchy Cannoli.
“[It’s] really soft and malleable,” Caruso says of the cold water hash, a blend of OG, Chem Dog and Royal Kush #7.
SPARC’s sleek, minimalist environment adds to the experience of buying top-notch products. The modern architecture, chic interior and serious attention to detail gives the spot a bit of that SF techie flair without the pretention. Their strains, concentrates, hashes and edibles are all beautifully displayed and identified in lit glass cases like fine art or jewelry. Plus, SPARC’s member consultants – many of whom are also cultivators – are genuinely patient and refreshingly enthusiastic, ready to answer any and all questions about the arsenal of cannabis items for sale.
SPARC is a new age doctor’s office without the gloomy waiting room and long faces, where people are glad to arrive and eager to get their medicine in a place that celebrates healing. People are smiling, laughing, talking openly, asking questions, sipping beverages and openly enjoying cannabis. Here, there’s nothing to hide.
“Just being open and transparent, that’s what we’re trying to capture, that energy,” says Freston.
1256 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94114
Originally published in issue 15 of Cannabis Now.