Announcing the GreenState Cannabis Awards 2018

Pinkleberry | Photo by Erica Edwards
Pinkleberry | Photo by Erica Edwards

How We Built The Essential Guide to California Cannabis!

Welcome to the first year of the GreenState Cannabis Awards — offering readers the definitive, independent guide to the best products, experiences and services to try in California in 2018 — the first year of legal sales.

The GreenState Cannabis Awards cannot be bought. They can only be won.

Winners of either the top-tier “Best” or the second-tier “Excellence” awards were nominated by a committee of industry experts from across the state, and then voted on, with final determination being made by me, the GreenState Cannabis Editor and the editorial team at The Chronicle. Our experts, including myself, have spent years going into the best dispensaries in California, trying out its immense range of products, and experiencing the best attractions California cannabis has to offer. We also filtered the nominees through our brand values: which emphasize approachability, diversity, inclusiveness, and innovation.

GreenState Cannabis Awards 2018 decal

The “Best” winners are literally just that — the best in their class in California. There can be only one Best Dispensary in California, for example. By contrast, there are many “Excellent” cannabis retailers. So there are multiple Excellence in Retail winners representing great places to start your own cannabis explorations in the new year.

All Best and Excellence winners are getting physical and digital decals and certificates to post in their business and celebrate their achievement. Next year, the current Best winners will have to defend their title, and Excellence winners will be added or subtracted depending on their performance in the coming months.

This project was a massive undertaking, but it was worth it. Never before has any team created such a detailed map of what’s cool in California and we’re excited to share it with you, in print and online at, as well as hear your feedback about what’s spot-on, and what’s missing.

Next year, the GreenState Cannabis Awards plans to even better serve our audiences in the now-eight legalization states

Thank you to every product maker, dispensary owner, and event promoter making California the richest cannabis state in the world. And special thanks to all the GreenState team members making this undertaking possible.

David Downs cannabis editor GreenState

David Downs is the cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, where he leads GreenState. He’s the author, co-author, contributing author or editor of four cannabis-related books, including Marijuana Harvest (2017). Email: 







GreenState editor

David Downs

San Francisco Chronicle Contributors

Tony Bravo, Liz Hafalia (photography), Gabrielle Lurie (photography), Urmila Ramakrishnan (social media), Carolyne Zinko

GreenState Contributors

Ted Andersen, Ngaio Bealum, Tobias Coughlin-Bogue, Conor Buckley, Jimi Devine, Emily Earlenbaugh, Ellen Holland, Max Savage Levenson, Elise McDonough, Elise McRoberts, Dan Mitchell, Ed Murrieta, Oscar Pascual, Evan Senn, April Short

Awards Nominating Committee

Ngaio Bealum, Tony Bravo, Neil Dellacava, Jimi Devine, Kitt Hall, Ellen Holland, Elise McDonough, Elise McRoberts, Ed Murrieta, Oscar Pascual, Carolyne Zinko

Web Development

Ted Metzger

Art Director

Danielle Mollette-Parks

Deputy Director, Photography

Russell Yip


Sales Associate

Ben Grambergu


Marketing Director

Sarah Morse Cooney

Awards Designer

Christina Rascon



Jeffrey M. Johnson

Editor in Chief

Audrey Cooper

Assistant Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Kitty Morgan

Senior Vice President, Sales

Steve Bentz

Vice President, Consumer Sales and Distribution

Mick Cohen

Assistant Managing Editor, Production

Ron Kitagawa

Digital Development

Ted Metzger

Newsletter Distribution

Matt Dickow




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Cannabis Editor |? | San Francisco Chronicle. Award-winning journalist. Best-selling author.