The Top California Cannabis Startups to Watch

Marijuana | © tanjila ahmed / Flickr
Marijuana | © tanjila ahmed / Flickr
Photo of Juliet Bennett Rylah
22 September 2017

As California prepares for recreational marijuana users to enter the market, new and unique products and companies are springing up on a seemingly weekly basis. There’s even a small town in Southern California, near the Nevada state border, that a cannabis company purchased in its entirety to create a weed oasis. While many of these startups are more geared toward growers and dispensaries, there are some that the average consumer might enjoy too. Here are six such companies.

Lord Jones

Lord Jones, based in Los Angeles, uses a combination of California-grown cannabis, Ecuadorian chocolate, and European fruit essences to create some seriously delicious edibles, though they also make CBD topicals. Edibles include gumdrops and chocolates, but recently, a considerable amount of interest has circled around their collaboration with Icelandic band Sigur Ros. These specialty gumdrops were unveiled via an immersive sound bath session in Los Angeles. Lord Jones products are available throughout the state of California.

Lowell Farms

Lowell Farms maintains a cannabis farm in California, but their products offer a lot more innovation than just the flower (though, that’s great too, of course). You can buy a box of beautifully packaged joints or win the heart of any cannabis enthusiast by purchasing them a weed bouquet, each one containing an ounce of cannabis. Forget roses!


California-based, woman-focused Foria uses cannabis in a fascinating way: they make lubricants infused with cannabis to maximize pleasure during sex, as well as cannabis suppositories, which can alleviate the unpleasant symptoms associated with menstruation.

KIVA Confections

KIVA Confections makes edibles, but not just for those who want to get really, really high. KIVA also makes products specifically for those interested in microdosing, or consuming a small amount of cannabis at a time. Their Petra mints only contain a gentle 2.5 mg of THC, while their Terra Bites—which come in the form of chocolate-covered espresso beans or blueberries—are just 5 mg each. These products mean that consumers who prefer the benefits of cannabis without the couch lock of stronger edibles can easily control their dosage without having to cut a brownie into several tiny pieces.

KIVA Chocolates' Petra Mints and Terra Bites.


Grassfed’s goal is to “de-stigmatize cannabis by offering a sophisticated way to consume it and enjoy both its medical and recreational properties with like-minded individuals.” They do this by throwing several unique and innovative events, including dining experiences—curated by cuisine and music—and virtual reality showcases that are 420-friendly. These fun social events demonstrate how cannabis can safely and pleasantly be incorporated into gatherings. Upcoming events, typically held in San Francisco and Los Angeles, can be found on their website.

My Nug Run

This Northern California-based subscription service partners with cannabis farms to create beautifully packaged boxes containing two pre-rolled joints, edibles, and either an eighth of an ounce of cannabis or a concentrate. The boxes are curated with specific terpenes in mind (the fragrance of various strains of weed). Currently, the NugBox is only available to subscribers in Sacramento and San Francisco, but that may change with California laws. Nug Run also has an on-demand store.

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