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Dutch Treat Without the Red Light District

Mission Organic Center in San Francisco's Excelsior district trounces Amsterdam's offerings.

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Bay Area medical cannabis patients needn't book a ticket to Amsterdam this winter for some award-winning delicacies. The five-week-old Mission Organic Center in the Excelsior District of San Francisco took second place in the 2012 Patients' Choice awards on November 18 with the scrumptious, world-class hybrid Dutch Treat. Astoundingly, the club still had supplies of the award-winner on Saturday, and our budtender, Cesar, said Dutch Treat's seasonal availability won't be a problem. "That right there is grown by family," Cesar proudly proclaimed. "We'll always have that."

Merry Christmas to us all.

Mission Organic has roared to life in the working-class neighborhood of the Excelsior, the beginning of a series of exciting new openings in the city's residential south. The federal crackdown on California dispensaries closed The Vapor Room, Divinity Tree, and several other San Francisco medical cannabis storefronts in 2012. But the San Francisco Planning Commission has continued to approve new clubs as well.

Mission Organic Center owner Eugene Popok rented 5258 Mission Street for the length of a grueling, three-and-a-half-year-long permitting process. In the end, the planning commission found no technical reason for why Mission Organic shouldn't be situated in the Excelsior district, which had no clubs of its own. The permit was approved in February, but it was appealed by an Excelsior business group that led a street protest against the club. The protest was counter-protested by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, whose employees work in what is now the first union dispensary in the city.

NIMBYs can chill out. Mission Organic is an asset to the Excelsior. If only the hood's eyesore liquor stores were held to such standards.

During a recent visit at the clean, secure little pot boutique, a receptionist buzzed us in to a small, immaculate waiting area, and took our info through a hole in a sign-in window. Security can be a bit dicey in the Excelsior, and since the club is open till 10 p.m., it doesn't take any chances. We quickly filled out some paperwork and got verified in less than two minutes. Linkin Park played on the radio, unfortunately, but the place smelled fresh and bright; natural light filled the room. After being buzzed inside to the main room, we got a warm greeting from Mission Organic staffers. Gigantic flatscreen monitors glowed with a white background and a color-coded menu that was refreshingly well-designed, yet hilariously massive. The Olympic swimming pools of pixels can easily overwhelm, so we suggest checking out the club's menu on Weedmaps.com first.

Mission Organic keeps its buds in liter-sized Tightvac jars in a glass case, making the shop near-odorless. Everything looked phenomenal, but we really wanted to examine the outdoor-grown Grand Daddy Purple, which was going for $20 for an eighth of an ounce, or about 65 percent off street prices. Although cheap, Mission Organics' Grand Daddy looked and smelled better than top-shelf at other stores. GDP is a Bay Area classic known for its sweet taste and aroma, and its sedative properties, and Mission Organic's version tested at an extremely high 23 percent THC, making it a contender for the best deal in the Bay.

If that was the bargain, we had to see what was on the club's premium list. The answer was "the bomb." Everything was big, frosty, and impeccably manicured. The C-4 had to be the most lime-green weed we've ever seen. The AK-47 looked like it had been rolled in brown sugar. We saw ideal cuts of Lemon Kush and L.A. Confidential, along with off-menu treasures like Berry Diesel, a hybrid of GDP and Sour Diesel. The union staff pulled the huge jars out for us one by one so we could smell the full bouquet.

And then there was the Dutch Treat. The club's signature strain defeated forty other Northern California entries to take second place in the 2012 San Francisco Patients' Choice Medical Cannabis Competition. Voted the number-two flower by eighty patient judges, Dutch Treat also passed CW Analytical lab tests for microbiological pathogens.

It also tested at a strong 21.8-percent THC with significant amounts of CBD (1.6 percent), and CBN (1 percent). The strain's seed seller, East Island Seeds from British Columbia, claims that Dutch Treat is an 80-percent indica, and the nugs at Mission Organic were big, dense, and pale green, with rust-colored hairs. The rich, sweet smell was dead-on Jack Herer, an award-winning strain from Sensi Seeds of Amsterdam. "Is this true Dutch Treat from Canada, or a different type of Dutch Treat from Amsterdam?" we thought. It didn't matter.

Cesar weighed us out a heavy, eighth of an ounce right from the Tightvac jar. Bring cash, or prepare to pay an on-site ATM fee. The center doesn't take plastic, thanks to the US Treasury Department's threats to banks that service pot clubs.

As described on Leafly.com, Dutch Treat delivers a euphoric, uplifting effect, and patients report using it for stress, anxiety, and pain. It will also give you cotton mouth like you wouldn't believe.

Amsterdam can keep its canals, its Van Gogh museum, and its wet weather. When it comes down to the herb, we're vacationing at home in the Bay.

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