PUFF Everyone, well 74.3% in San Francisco at least, voted to make recreational marijuana legal this year. Yay! Party! Party! Pass the bong. All we have to do is wait until January 1, 2018, and we can all walk hand-in-hand into any dispensary without a card and buy that precious herb. Right?!

Not so quickly! Little did you know that there is still one teeny, tiny little hurdle that has to be cleared — local politics. You see politics doesn’t care how dank the new Platinum Kush OG is or who has the best shatter. It’s not going to come to your party bringing a Pacific Remedy preroll to share with the canna fam. No, it is going to turn the cannabis issue into a blunt tool to use to get what else it wants — power.

So now everyone is meeting at City Hall discussing the pros and cons of weed world, dissecting it, and well, trying to suck as much fun out of it as possible. For such a legendarily lefty town as San Francisco, conservative politics has reared its nasty head to combat the devil’s weed. These forces have trucked in scared locals who are sure once stoners get their way and open dispensaries in playgrounds, they will be shooting up weed, corrupting kids and attacking people with baseball bats. Like any stoner would have the energy for that! Maybe if really good snacks were involved.

Is any of that true? Of course not! It is all a power play by people who are using recreational marijuana as a new tool for political gain. It’s part of the game and pot is the new playing piece.

So what does that mean to Joe Stoner looking for a marijuana deal? Well, first off, don’t let that pot card expire. On January 1, dispensaries can begin to apply for the recreational permit, but as long as politicians spar over the issue, no one knows exactly how long that will take. So you will still need the card to get into a dispensary.

If your card is about to expire, try getting the almighty doctor’s letter in lieu of the “doc in the box” card. When the new regulations do kick in the doctor’s letter will allow you to dodge the pricey 20% (or more) tax the state will charge you.

Remember all those hilarious stories we used to tell each other about how easy it was to get a pot card? “The doctor asked me what I did that made me happy yesterday and then just signed my paperwork” “I got my card at Ameoba Records, that’s so rad!” Well those cards won’t mean bupkis anymore, just a souvenir of days gone by when medical marijuana ruled the state.

The problem is a lot of doctors will not provide the scripts because they are part of some insurance hive mind that does not approve. Well, at least not at your current copay.

In reality, we all knew this kind of stuff was bound to happen. To take a giant step forward, which this is, we are going to have to take a step back, stumble, trip and then catch our balance. These weed wars will end at City Hall. Recreational will go through. Within a few months, we will be able to go to a dispensary and buy any product without a card. Not everything will go perfectly, but we will learn and grow. Some businesses will make it and others will perish.

Never loose sight of the goal though, even right here, right now, precious weed will help us chill throughout this bullshit process and all the bullshit coming down the pike. It is the reason we believe in the outcome of Prop 64. It is marijuana, Mary Jane, grass, reefer. A gift from the Earth. It will be here long after us and politics and pot cards. So pass that doobie and let’s get down to what is really important!

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Dan Karkoska is an independent producer, promoter, film critic, and DJ on the San Francisco scene. He also works with Maria Konner at Under the Golden Gate and is currently producing and hosting PUFF, the first queer marijuana rock-and-roll drag party every first Thursday at The Stud. He is a big stoner. Photo by Sari Staver.