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The "Birchbox" Of Premium Medical Marijuana Has Launched In San Francisco

It's called Potbox, and the founders are hoping there's a market for monthly home-delivered farm-to-table cannabis.

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Michelle Rial / BuzzFeed

San Francisco's unstoppable quest to gentrify everything zeroed in on the city's medical marijuana industry a long time ago. Just visit any of the Bay Area's upscale dispensaries, where you can buy curated packages of weed in a store that resembles a twee Warby Parker eyeglass boutique. Now, you can get your artisanal MJ shipped directly to your doorstep: a company called Potbox, which launches today in San Francisco and parts of Los Angeles, is delivering boxes of "farm-to-table" medical marijuana – dare we call it, the Birchbox of weed? – to patients.

It's been almost twenty years since California passed Proposition 215, at the time becoming the first state to establish a medical cannabis program. In San Francisco, the legal cannabis industry has evolved into a financial behemoth; dispensaries sold about $41 million worth of weed in 2012. This being the age of the angel investor, venture capital firms are taking notice and pouring millions into marijuana startups.

Medical delivery services are nothing new to the Bay Area — there's Eaze and Lifted, not to mention the dispensaries that will dispatch their wares to your house via bike messenger. Potbox isn't even the first player in the subscription box space: Marvina launched earlier this year, aptly named after the songwriter behind the Weeds theme song. But Potbox is betting on customers preferring to get their medicine gift-wrapped and artisanally curated.

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For around $150 a month, you can get your medication delivered like this.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

The boxes aren't necessarily cheap, but let's be honest, many of us daily smokers spend at least this much (if not more) on herb each month. Plus, judging by the quality and amount of marijuana you receive (two jars, containing a total of just over a quarter ounce of herb and two pre-rolled joints), the cost is pretty much what you would expect to pay if you bought the equivalent amount of bud from a local dispensary. Currently patients can customize their boxes by choosing the strains they'd like included.

The real game changer, in my opinion, is in the presentation. The box is gorgeously styled from the outside, and the contents are both fragrant and beautiful. Seriously, the box puts standard delivery bags to SHAME.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

Potbox is clearly aiming for the sleek artisanal aesthetic of a pourover coffee bar. There's no sign of branded lighters, silly candies for "cotton mouth," or tacky packaging.

Unlike Marvina, Potbox partners directly with farms, cutting out the dispensary "middle man" all together. Working directly with farms enables the company to maintain higher standards in terms of the marijuana included in their boxes. Currently the company has partnered with three local cannabis farms – Sky Farm, Sunset Ridge Farm and Zayante Valley Farm – all of which have apparently "pledged to grow only ethical cannabis."

"Ethical cannabis is grown with the purest intention, with the well-being of the patient and the environment at heart." co-founder Evrett Kramer told BuzzFeed. "It's about carefully controlling all phases of the plant's life cycle and creating a sense of stewardship over the entire process. It's about respecting the rights and the livelihoods of the people who cultivate and harvest our cannabis. And it's about being 100% transparent in everything that we do so that our valued customers will never have to worry about where their medicine comes from, what it contains, how the plants were cared for, or how it gets from the field to their door each month."

Kramer is also the owner of Island in the Sky Farms, and personally grew the strains that were included in my box. "It doesn't get any closer to farm to your door than this," he said. Chatting with him reminded me of visiting farms in Grass Valley where you can talk to the person who grew and/or trimmed the marijuana you're buying.

The flowers certainly are potent — the entire package gives off a distinct marijuana smell, which might present a problem for someone who needs to get their packages sent to work, for instance.

Mathew Guiver / BuzzFeed

It's their relationship with their farmers that founder and CEO Austin Heap attributes to their high quality product. "The cannabis we offer our patients is grown exclusively for Potbox customers," Heap told BuzzFeed. "It's direct from the farm, packed at the peak of freshness, flavor, aroma and potency. We have input and oversight over the entire process – including seed selection, planting, harvesting, production and delivery — we know exactly how the cannabis was grown, what organic soil and fertilizers were used, what non-chemical pesticides and fungicides were used, how it was cured and produced, etc."

Strictly for quality control purposes, I sampled the herb and photographed the experience.

David Jedeikin / BuzzFeed

In a city where people happily shell out $7 for a David Rio chai, will Potbox's bet on customers paying premium prices for premium farm-to-table weed pay off?

"My hope is that we are a positive force on the industry and that by setting high standards help elevate the cannabis industry to its full potential," Heap said. "This is really the beginning of a much longer journey and we’re excited to see where it takes us."

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