Farmacy, Santa Barbara's first recreational cannabis dispensary | Credit: Paul Wellman

“The last video store in Santa Barbara is the first cannabis store,” explained Graham Farrar of The Farmacy, the recreational marijuana store he’s opening this week near the corner of Mission and De la Vina streets, in the former movie rental shop. Instead of piles of DVDs and Hollywood paraphernalia crowding a dim space, the Farmacy is bright with sunshine, cleanly minimalist in design, and full of friendly faces ready to help you find the weed you need. 

“Our approach is a cannabis boutique ​— ​you could put jewelry in these cases and you wouldn’t have to change a thing,” said Farrar. “Pick up a box, handle it around ​— ​it’s regular retail now. It’s not the feeling of a pharmacist’s office.” (There’s even an original Chris Potter painting of Farrar’s Carpinteria greenhouse.)

After a greeter verifies you are 21 or older by checking your ID ​— ​which is mandatory for all ages, as they must also ensure shoppers do not go over the one-ounce-per-day state limit ​— ​you are free to wander the store. The open shelves and locked cases are loaded with 350 different cannabis-containing products, from 63 different types of flower ​— ​costing anywhere from $15 to $90 for an eighth of an ounce, or 3.5 grams ​— ​down to one brand of pot treats for your pet. There are edibles, extracts, lotions, tinctures, topicals, drinks, sublinguals, and culinary products, such as infused butter and olive oil. “And there’s lifestyle,” explained general manager Leia Cail. “There’s lube!” 

The Farmacy team of 17 employees scoured the cannabis market to curate a wide range of their preferred brands, aiming to make it easier for customers to find something they want rather than be overwhelmed with options. “When you’re walking into a brand-new world, you don’t need the Walmart of weed,” said Farrar. “You want what your friend would recommend if you asked him.”

That includes a full section featuring Santa Barbara–grown cannabis from companies such as Glass House (which is also owned by Farrar) to Autumn Brands, Pacific Stone, and Raw Garden. “There was nowhere to buy anything from Santa Barbara County in Santa Barbara County until now,” said Farrar, confident that the farm-to-table ethos will translate to cannabis consumers. 

He’s also excited about high-end products such as Field Extracts, which uses a fresh-frozen technique to cleanly extract cannabinoids into a pure resin. “Right now, everybody is drinking boxed wine,” said Farrar of what Santa Barbara aficionados have been missing without a legal pot shop. “They don’t know it, but right over here is Screaming Eagle.” (That’s one of the most expensive wines anywhere.)

Per state law, all of the products are subject to more scrutiny than almost any other consumer product. “Everything is tested,” said Farrar. “Each batch comes with a COA.” That certificate of analysis verifies that the product tested clean for an array of toxins, from fungus, bacteria, and bug parts to heavy metals and 66 pesticides.

The shop will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week, with delivery services starting next month. Sales must be in cash or by debit card for now, with credit card processing coming soon. The Farmacy is also part of the Santa Barbara Axxess program, with 25 percent off for the first purchase and 10 percent off onward. The City of Santa Barbara will reap the 8.75 percent sales tax and special 6 percent cannabis tax on each purchase. 

Later this year, The Farmacy will be joined by two other recreational cannabis stores in Santa Barbara: Coastal Dispensary, which is expected to open September 26, and Golden State Greens, for which there is no current timeline for opening. 

Read more about Graham Farrar and Farmacy here.


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