SPARC Founder Erich Pearson on Activism, Equity, and the Future of Cannabis

Erich Pearson CEO of SPARC

When he first came to California to grow weed with a friend in Sonoma County, Erich Pearson couldn’t have known that he would land in the middle of a statewide and later a national fight for legalization, or that he would end up owning one of the most successful dispensaries in the Bay Area. His […]

How to Become a Budtender: A Complete Guide

Budtender weighing cannabis

The business of bud is exploding with an increase of 30% of the marijuana market since its legalization. With more and more demands for medical and recreational use, dispensaries require talented, passionate, and reliable individuals to face and advise their customers. That is where budtenders come into play. Here’s how to become the cannabis expert […]

Cannabis Activists Take On Criminal Justice Reform Seeking to Free Drug Offenders

As the U.S. begins waking up to the tragedy that our prisons are filled with inmates who did little to land in jail besides sell — or possess — a little bit of weed, non-profits and legal-defense organizations are stepping up efforts to get those inmates freed. The possession, sale, and growing of cannabis for […]

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System? Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis in the sunlight

Cannabis is something to be enjoyed, but it’s essential to know just how long weed stays in your system. It’s important because you would never want to put yourself into a situation where it compromises your safety or others’ safety. Being clued up on this information will ensure you can use weed for the benefits […]

How Does It Feel When You Take CBD?

woman sitting on chair with coconut

Known for its calming and rejuvenating properties on both the body and mind, CBD is becoming increasingly popular due to its many health benefits, minus the intoxicating side effects commonly associated with marijuana. Made by mixing extracted and diluted CBD with a carrier oil such as coconut, CBD oil is an effective remedy for many […]

A Brief History Medical Marijuana In California

biodynamic cannabis plant in the ground.

When people talk about medical cannabis in the U.S., most everyone thinks of the state laws enacted in the last three decades, beginning with California’s Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) in 1996. But medical use of cannabis in the U.S. dates back to the 1840s, when cannabis oil was widely available as an over-the-counter medication […]

Actress Turned Talk Show Host Turned Documentary Producer: Ricki Lake Talks Cannabis

Ricki Lake turns 52 in September, and she’s already had at least four careers in that time. Starting out as a young actress in John Waters’ films and landing her own, wildly popular talk show at age 24, Lake has always been one of the more candid and authentic celebrities in Hollywood, especially when it […]

How Humans Started Consuming Cannabis, For Both Ritual and Pleasure

As Americans continue to share under-reported narratives about our historically unjust culture, cannabis can’t be left out of the conversation. Criminal justice reform in this country begins with discussions of the over-policing and over-prosecution of drug crimes, particularly where marijuana is concerned, and state prosecutors are only beginning to grapple with decades of unjust mass […]

Introducing the Sonoma County Land Where Marigold Cannabis Is Grown

chickens on a cannabis farm

SPARC’s Marigold line of sungrown marijuana is unique even among Northern California’s rich history and array of outdoor cannabis cultivation. As a brand, Marigold stands for quality, minimal environmental impact, and the core principles of organic and biodynamic farming. And it’s grown on especially fertile land that has been used for farming in the Sonoma […]

Jahlibyrd Founder Chris Anderson Talks About His Love of Outdoor Growing

Jahlibyrd, the Northern California cannabis product brand, goes hand in hand with music and community, and they want to keep it that way. Founded in Nevada County with a focus on sustainability and a proud connection with reggae culture, Jahlibyrd has been partnering for several years now on the California Roots music festival in Monterey […]

Q&A With Gold Seal Co-Founder Neil Dellacava

Gold Seal is one of the most respected and acclaimed cannabis brands in the Bay Area, in no small part because it has maintained a clear focus on small-scale, high-quality cultivation. The brand initially became known for an exclusive strain called Cherry Cheesecake — an indica hybrid of Cherry Pie and Kimbo Kush. Based primarily […]

Q&A With Atrium Cultivation’s Co-Founder Shawn Gardner

Atrium Cultivation is a premium, luxury cannabis brand known for its award-winning and exclusive flower varietals. Founded in 2017 in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California, Atrium Cultivation has taken a place in the maturing cannabis industry among the top cultivators of uniquely flavorful marijuana products. The company’s acclaimed breeding program sources from rare and […]

How ‘420’ Was Born at a Northern California High School in 1971

For several decades, the true origin story behind the euphemism “420” and the international cannabis holiday we now celebrate on April 20th was not widely known. The internet therefore became filled with misinformation and myths about the term — was it a penal code associated with marijuana? Bob Marley’s birthday? — until, during the last […]

Celebrate 4/20 with SPARC Deals, Virtual Gatherings

It’s been, by far, the weirdest April in the history of SPARC. And here it is almost 4/20, and where we would usually be getting ready to celebrate with everyone else during the third 4/20 since legalization, we’re instead figuring out how to keep all our delivery drivers and retail personnel safe and how to […]

Bay Area Cannasseur: Compassionate care programs getting into gear

Erich Pearson & Joey Airone

Erich Pearson, left, CEO and chairman of SPARC, is working with Joey Airone, founder of Sweetleaf Collective, to jump-start the collective’s compassionate care program. Photo: Sari Staver   Compassionate care programs are expected to expand locally, following the March 1 start date for Senate Bill 34, the new state law making it easier for organizations to […]

Sonoma County cannabis oil manufacturers seek to ease vaping fears

Ryan Sereno

JULIE JOHNSON THE PRESS DEMOCRAT February 24, 2020 When people started getting sick and dying last year in troubling numbers from respiratory problems associated with using vaporizers and electronic cigarette products, staff at Mercy Wellness dispensary in Cotati set aside their projects and put all attention toward determining whether their products were safe. Demand for electronic […]

Pushback Time: Meet the Cannabis Business Association of Sonoma County

Erich Pearson & the Cannabis Business Association of Sonoma County

BY JONAH RASKIN Call them Sonoma County’s best-known marijuana-istas. Erich Pearson, Alexa Wall, Erin Gore, Ron Ferraro and Dennis Hunter are among the most outspoken activists in an industry that long encouraged its members to be faceless and nameless, stay under the radar and keep out of jail. These five industry movers and shakers have put […]

Cannabis companies seek business-friendly rules in Sonoma County

JULIE JOHNSONTHE PRESS DEMOCRAT February 2, 2020, 12:31AM Updated 44 minutes ago On a cold night in November, local cannabis entrepreneurs filled the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ meeting hall for a public reckoning about a legal marketplace struggling to meet the county’s demands. Steep taxes, expensive environmental studies, security plans, a changing set of rules and […]

SPARC Joy: Metrc Compliance Automated Across All 5 Dispensaries with Treez

SPARC Storefront

Every cannabis software company says they “integrate with Metrc.” If you’ve heard it during a sales pitch, it sounds easy. But what does that really mean? Is it even possible to have an easy migration and go live without a hitch? What do the process and support look like? And what are some of the success stories […]

Hash Isn’t for the Timid

In Good Hands SPARC sells an array of hashish-related product BY JONAH RASKIN Hash, the smoke, isn’t for the timid. Soldiers in Napoleon’s army brought it from Egypt to Europe, where it caught on fast. In 19th-century France, every self-respecting writer used the concentrated extract and belonged to “The Hashish Club.” That history was a big selling […]

Cannabis tourism seeks broader stage, but encounters obstacles in Wine Country

JULIE JOHNSONTHE PRESS DEMOCRAT August 23, 2019 Acivil engineer, an insurance broker, a steel vessel manufacturer, two educators and a slew of people from the wine, shipping and tech industries lined up on a hot August morning to get onto a tour bus outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in Santa Rosa. Handed mimosas in plastic cups […]

San Francisco’s Love Shack by SPARC Dispensary Opens This Week

February 18, 2019 Press Release State by State: California San Francisco, CA. — Feb. 21, 2019 — PRESS RELEASE — Closed since March 2018, the legendary San Francisco cannabis dispensary Love Shack re-opens its doors this week in its original Mission Dolores location with a new name reflecting a new partnership: Love Shack by SPARC. Known […]

Cannabis Goes Beyond Organic in California’s Wine Country

DAVID DOWNS January 11, 2019 More and more consumers want cannabis grown under full sun, in the soil, using organic nutrients. They think it tastes and feels better than lamp-grown, synthetically fertilized plants grown indoors. Meeting that demand is a new generation of so-called “Demeter”-certified “biodynamic” cannabis farms. They submit to repeat inspections and pay […]

Sonoma County’s 2018 cannabis harvest small, but much better than last year

JULIE JOHNSON THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | November 27, 2018, 9:27PM   A cloudy summer and an early rain hampered Sonoma County’s 2018 outdoor cannabis haul, but the mood remained optimistic among growers one year after major wildfires marred the newly regulated crop’s harvest. By this time in the growing season, the marijuana plants have been […]


 VOMMAG NOVEMBER 16, 2018VOL. 4 ISSUE 6 Story Jonah Raskin Photos Steven Krause   There isn’t a family in Sonoma Valley that doesn’t have a family tree, though some families have deeper roots than others. The Gordenkers’ family history in Sonoma Valley goes back to 1885, when Olga and Vladimir arrived from Russia, rolled up their […]

From Wine to Weed Country


Rohnert Park, CA. – November 14, 2018 – A leader in California cannabis known for its dispensary outlets as well as for its farming practices, SPARC is pleased to announce the release of its first Demeter Certified biodynamically farmed strains. Biodynamic agriculture is an ecological farming system that views the farm as a self-contained and […]

A Day in the Life of a Cannabis Lounge

David Downs September 6, 2018 The morning sun barely clears the Berkeley hills east of the San Francisco Bay today, yet the Volcano vaporizers are already warm at the public cannabis lounges across the region. Over at Barbary Coast Collective on Mission St. in San Francisco, the staff sets out cleaned ashtrays and psychedelic silicone […]

Cheap cannabis products available before new California rules kick in

  Christine Brizendine buys products from Dannie Holzer (right) at a Sparc dispensary in San Francisco. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle A bonanza of cheap marijuana is flooding the market this week as growers, manufacturers and retailers unload excess cannabis in preparation for the enforcement of strict testing and packaging regulations that are […]

Back to business as usual for pot farm

Timing is everything. It was the worst kind of timing on Oct. 8 when the Nuns Fire raged through the Gordenker Ranch property where SPARC, a San Francisco-based marijuana collective, leases growing acreage. In October, a good percentage of the crop had been picked and stored on site, awaiting transport to East Bay processing facilities […]

The Dawn of a New 420

To celebrate California’s first fully legal 420, San Francisco dispensaries turned to vinyl and drag queens. Zack Ruskin Wed Apr 25th, 2018 2:15pm Chem Tales For many pot enthusiasts, 420 will always be a day to gather with hundreds of fellow stoners and smoke a truly staggering amount of cannabis. However, for dispensaries, the occasion […]


April 18, 2018 · by fleamarketfunk · in 45 RPM, Vinyl Records This year 420 falls on a Friday, which is good for lots of people. It’s also good for this collaboration between SPARC and the Jazz Dispensary, which looks to be a wonderful match for a day like this, not coincidentally the day before RSD 2018. For those not in the know, […]

North Bay pot farm presses forward after devastating fire

By Laura Anthony Wednesday, April 11, 2018 GLEN ELLEN, Calif. (KGO) — The North Bay fires were devastating for homeowners and businesses. That includes some of the area’s cannabis growers. “This barn went twice as far, all the way down to that hay and then there was a whole ‘nother barn over here the same size.” […]

Where Cannabis Enthusiasts Go to Get High in San Francisco

Artist Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog Bridge at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/REX/Shutterstock By Aislyn Greene APR. 10, 2018 As of January 1, 2018, you can legally buy cannabis at any dispensary in California — just for the sheer pleasure of it. All you need is 21 years under your belt, a valid ID from any […]

SPARC and Jazz Dispensary Announce Launch of the “PRIVATE STOCK SERIES”

For 420, the annual celebration of cannabis culture that falls this year on Friday, April 20th, leading cannabis industry partner SPARC and the Jazz Dispensary   label announce the first installment of the Private Stock Series. Exclusively available at one of SPARC’s four dispensary outlets, Private Stock Series #001 features two classic songs that exemplify soul, funk, and good times. Not coincidentally, both also reference the […]