Special Publications

Explore Santa Cruz 2021: A Guide to Santa Cruz Cannabis

A guide to a wide range of cannabis

This guide is part of Explore Santa Cruz 2021.

3 Bros 

1100B Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-345-0281, 3brossantacruz.com 

A few years ago, a tight-knit crew of local surfers got together and dreamed up 3 Bros Dispensary, eventually setting up shop and establishing the only cannabis shop on the Westside. “Good Vibes, High Tides” is their official creed. A completely wide open floor plan creates a laid-back vibe that is equal parts warmth and professionalism. Flanked by amazing restaurants and the stunning beauty of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, 3 Bros is just steps from the beach. Grab a pre-roll, walk three blocks, and you’re toking up on famous West Cliff Drive. 

The Apothecarium

1850 41st Ave., Capitola, 831-325-0691, apothecarium.com

This dispensary arrives with a lot of cannabis experience going for it—the first Apothecarium was founded in 2011 in San Francisco by three cousins and two family friends. Sleek and modern, the new dispensary hopes to settle right into Santa Cruz County with an inviting boutique feel and comfortable lounge area. They have set out to curate the finest cannabis products in the area, with a concentration on local brands. 


115 Limekiln St., Santa Cruz, 831-420-3227; 1156 Abbott St., Salinas, 831-202-0172, cannacruz.com

CannaCruz has been hooking up Santa Cruz County locals and tourists alike with high-quality cannabis goods since 2014. The shop’s employees and owners strive to provide a wide variety of products—carefully researched and chosen—and the right kind of medicine for every need. SC Labs tests all of its products, ensuring that CannaCruz’s vast selection of concentrates, flowers, edibles (and more) are pesticide free and meet the state’s BPC regulations. CannaCruz is heralded as the first collective on the planet to profile the terpenes in their many (ultra-potent) strains. Both of the dispensary’s locations are kept temperature-stable to ensure that their bountiful selection of products are kept fresh—and the terpenes preserved. They provide a stress-free buying experience, with amazing budtenders and sales reps who are experts in the field of cannabis science and eager to provide recommendations. 

Central Coast Wellness Center

7932 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, 831-704-7340, centralcoastwellnesscenter.org

Nestled among spectacular groves of Sequoia sempervirens and majestic redwoods, Central Coast Wellness Center has been meeting the cannabis needs of Ben Lomond and the San Lorenzo Valley for years. Locally owned and operated, CCWC specializes in alternative cannabinoids like CBG, CBD, THCA, Delta-8, and terpenes/flavinoids like Humulene, Myrcene, and Alpha/Beta Pinene. 

CHAI Cannabis Co. 

3088 Winkle Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-475-5506, chaicannabis.com 

No delicious beverages here, but a whole lot of premium “Elite High Grade” and low-cost medical and recreational cannabis goodies. CHAI offers a bounty of high-quality 100% lab-tested, indoor-cultivated cannabis, and it was one of the first dispensaries in town to include the 15% state excise tax, 8.5% state sales tax, and 7% Santa Cruz County CBT tax in their everyday prices. Becoming a member of the dispensary is quick and easy, and the prices you see are the prices you pay. 

Curbstone Exchange

6535 Highway 9, Felton, 831-704-7151, curbstoneexchange.org

Affectionately known as “The Curb” to Felton locals, the folks at Curbstone Exchange are all about compassion. With an old-school vibe—think the opposite of a sterile Apple Store—customers are allowed to take all the time they need with the products they’re interested in, with no-pressure, super-educated budtenders expertly guiding them along. 

Herbal Cruz 

1051 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-462-9999, herbalcruz.com

The proud and always-smiling employees of Herbal Cruz semi-secretly call their shop the “Costco Of Weed.” The bud is top quality, and there’s a lot of it at the sparkling clean space on the beach end of 41st Avenue. Carrying all the products a patient could possibly want—tinctures, edibles, flowers, and concentrates, just to name a few—the selection of cannabis products and accessories is right up there with any of the top shops in the county. Glass jars containing a wide array of flowers are grouped according to sativa, hybrid and indica—feel free to examine any strain that catches your eye, or grab a potent pre-roll from their display humidor. 

The Hook Outlet 

4170 Gross Road, Suite 5, Capitola, 831-322-4665, hookoutlet.com 

Think Grocery Outlet for cannabis. The folks at the Hook Outlet Dispensary, nestled in a semi-quiet shopping center behind Pizza My Heart in Capitola, pride themselves as running the first-ever cannabis outlet in the state of California. With prices often significantly lower than other retailers, the Hook is hooking new customers right and left. (See page 16). 


3600 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-471-8562; 533 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 831-515-4144, kindpeoples.com

Kindpeoples is the area’s largest cannabis dispensary, blossoming from a wee little upstart into the multi-location juggernaut and community cornerstone that it is today. And its mission is still to “show off what cannabis perfection looks like.” With the largest genetics department in the Monterey Bay, the “kind people,” budtenders, and staff geneticists at Kindpeoples are happy to help. As Santa Cruz’s first state-legal dispensary, and the owner of one of the first three cultivation licenses issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, there was always a lot riding on Kindpeoples’ success. Today, the flourishing Santa Cruz company seeks to serve the unique needs of all cannabis consumers. 

Redwood Coast Dispensary

10090 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, 831-336-8795, redwoodcoastdispensary.com 

Nestled in the heart of San Lorenzo Valley’s ancient redwoods, small-but-mighty Redwood Coast Dispensary (formerly Redwood Coast Collective) has captured the hearts of “Highway 9-ers” and tourists alike. Fully stocked with enough flower, concentrates, edibles, and other cannabis products and accessories to fuel an army, the shop proudly carries the largest selection of any dispensary in the Valley. Redwood Coast’s walls are covered with rock-and-roll memorabilia, and free popcorn is always cooking in the corner of the shop, so you can get your top-grade cannabis and satisfy your munchies at the same time.

Reefside Dispensary

1104 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 831-515-7363, reefside.co

Located on Ocean Street in the former Fin’s Coffee building, Reefside is the first dispensary you see when you roll into Santa Cruz from Highway 17 (conveniently for sweet-toothed stoners, it’s right across the street from Marianne’s Ice Cream). It’s a cannabis dispensary with a big mission: to “demystify cannabis.” Reefside sells tinctures, pre-rolls, flower, topicals, edibles, vape cartridges, and concentrates, plus the accessories you’ll need to make the most of them. An ultra-bright and experienced staff will set you up with everything you need to get started on your cannabis adventure, or partake for the umpteenth time. Whether you want to get all amped up, relax, focus, or just go to sleep, Reefside has your perfect medicine. 

Santa Cruz Naturals

9077 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 831-688-7266; 19 San Juan Road, Royal Oaks, 831-722-2018, santacruzcannabis.com

The team at family-owned Santa Cruz Naturals places a high priority on product sourcing and quality. As a “Clean Green” business, Santa Cruz Naturals has voluntarily gone through the most rigorous nationally recognized cannabis certification program out there. The now-thriving dispensary was born out of the ethos that there are healthy, natural solutions to many of the problems that we face as a society today. Founder and owner Colin Disheroon’s belief in clean green cannabis production and commitment to sustainability has permeated every strand of the business’ DNA. Whether you’re experienced or a total cannabis newb, the passionate, friendly and highly educated budtenders at each of Santa Cruz Naturals’ Santa Cruz County locations (Watsonville and Aptos) have got you covered. 

Surf City Original 

2649 41st Ave., Soquel, 831-325-7299, surfcityoriginal.com 

Located on 41st Avenue, in the former location of the now-legendary “Granny Purps,” Surf City Original is already making a name for itself, offering a wide variety of cannabis products at super-fair prices. It’s a relatively small space, but completely renovated and remodeled—bright, open and airy. The vibe inside the shop is totally Santa Cruz—mellow and completely laid back. Get in and get out quickly using “online express ordering” (and the high-tech iPads inside), or chill a bit on the plush leather couches and loveseats while watching the always-on “Cannabis-Club TV.” The Ms. Pac-man arcade game is free to customers. 

Therapeutic Healthcare Collective

5011 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 831-713-5641, thcsoquel.com

A little gem in the heart of Soquel Village, THC is a tight-knit, family-run boutique that offers personalized (and one-on-one) customer service, the highest quality cannabis, and the true spirit of the chill and sleepy Soquel community. The shop’s owners say they “hold our cannabis to a higher standard,” and you can feel that exceptional quality and attention to detail as you walk through their doors. Their ultimate goal is to provide the highest-grade cannabis products to promote a holistic and effective alternative to their customers’ needs. The dispensary treats its role in the community with a sense of responsibility, and strives to improve the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of each one of its dedicated customers.


3561 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 831-471-8289, ourtreehouse.io

Treehouse has quickly made a name for itself in the local and California cannabis game—offering a vast 4,000-square-foot retail and commercial space with a robust selection of topicals, edibles, flower, concentrates, and so much more. Envirocann Certified, Treehouse products are carefully selected, researched, and curated,  down to the tiniest detail. A lot of thought goes into the dispensary’s products, and the shop itself. Treehouse is designed with a wide-open floor plan and a lounge atmosphere, creating a chillaxed and casual environment teaming with live plants, uplifting music, and bubbling conversation. Entering through a sign that says “All are Welcome,” shopping at the dispensary quickly becomes an enjoyable and relaxed social experience. 

Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance

2827 S. Rodeo Gulch Road, Unit 6, Soquel, 831-431-6347, scveteransalliance.com

The Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance is on an important mission: provide veterans and the general public with safe and reliable access to the highest quality, lab-tested medical cannabis in existence. The all-veteran men behind SCVA strive to create a community hub—a meeting place for veterans and their supporters to reach out, give support to each other, and speak openly about the therapeutic benefits of medical herbs. U.S. veteran farmers and cultivators are employed to cultivate SCVA strains—by far some of the best stuff on the market. The cornerstone of the SCVA is its Veteran Compassion Program: every veteran member of this collective gets hooked up with completely free, lab-tested medical cannabis every month. 

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