Part of legitimizing the marijuana industry in California involves making sure the storefront operations are inviting, secure and professional. That’s why, as The Los Angeles Times recently reported, an increasing number of marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles are modeling their operations after one of California’s most successful companies: Apple.
One example noted was in Santa Monica, where salespeople don bright red t-shirts and cheerfully greet patrons. The merchandise is lined up carefully on chic wooden tables adorned by iPads. The reporter couldn’t help but draw parallels to the successful technology firm. But the gadgets laid out for display weren’t iPods – they were vape pens, for consumption of marijuana and derivatives.
This is a stark departure from the days of burglar bars and bullet-proof glass. Some are calling it a “makeover,” but it’s part of a strategic plan by marijuana dispensaries in California to establish some legitimacy in the market. This mirrors the advancing power and presence of the industry on the national stage.
Marijuana entrepreneurs are scoping out business models and store set-ups such as those at Apple, Whole Foods and other retail spaces that make use of natural light, open floor plans and displays that are spacious.
L.A. marijuana dispensary lawyers know this has become even more of a priority now that marijuana is legal for recreational use. There remains a great deal of skepticism about what these operations are going to mean for individual neighborhoods, and there remains opposition about them. Raising the bar for pot bars could be the first step in helping to change the image.
And these updated spaces serve another purpose as well: With California on the growing list of states that now allow recreational marijuana, it’s estimated there will be a huge influx of new customers. Many of these individuals may not be all that familiar with marijuana, and the last thing dispensaries want to do is scare away new customers with a dingy space or poor shopping experience.
Another important point is that now that there has been some level of stability within the market, it makes sense for cannabis dispensaries to invest in their property and make it a destination, something that can be utilized for years go come – a luxury businesses didn’t have when federal authorities were constantly raiding facilities.
The cannabis market in California last year generated $6 billion, according to the latest market reports. By 2026, it’s expected to balloon to $50 billion. Already, it’s poised to become the biggest cash crop in the state.
A recent survey showed between 2011 and 2015, users of marijuana who were 26 and older climbed by 30 percent. Meanwhile, those between the ages of 18 and 25 increased by 4 percent.
Some of these dispensaries are hoping to capture the older market – those customers who might not necessarily be regular smoker, but who might be tempted to peek into an attractive store or attend if a friend was hosting an event.
Stores want to encourage shoppers to stop in, browse, maybe sample – and return. They want it to be a place people want to be.
If you are considering your marijuana business plan, it’s important to consult with an experienced marijuana lawyer who can help you hammer out the details.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Marijuana shops are trying to look like the Apple store, Jan. 16, 2017, By Shan Li, L.A. Times
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Media and Marijuana: DEA Blames Media for Difficulty Enforcing Pot Laws, Jan. 16, 2017, L.A. Marijuana Lawyer