There are suits, cars and secret agents. And then there is Armani, Bentley and James Bond. And we all know the latter examples are better.
In every industry, some brands rise to the top – they become the luxury brands. And we can only expect that this will happen in the cannabis industry as well.
In the past, smoking marijuana was just a thing that “stoners” did. And let’s face it – not everyone wants to be one. There are those that may have smoked in college, those that tried it a few times but don’t smoke it regularly, those that never smoked for fear of breaking the law, or those that simply did not want to have the attached stigma. But things are changing in the favor of these people. Marijuana is becoming legalized across the country, and also becoming socially acceptable. Because of these, there is more and more research being conducted and released about the potential benefits of using cannabis. There is also a tremendous amount of product innovation. Now there is a strain for just about everything.
This is where I was at. As a Colorado native, smoking marijuana always seemed sort of…normal. In high school, my parents openly stated that they would rather I smoked marijuana than cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Pretty much everyone I knew did it – especially in college. Pretty much everyone but me. Not because I didn’t give in to peer pressure, but because I just didn’t like being high. Although I liked the giddiness aspect of it, the other effects made it not worth it to me.
I didn’t like not being able to form a sentence, or feeling like my butt was super glued to the couch, or getting the urge to eat a hippo (but too lazy to get up and make food), and I didn’t like that I never knew how much would be too much. I went from not feeling a thing, to falling flat on my face and hating my life. I also really didn’t like hanging out with the “stoners” – I was a jock, so we didn’t really have much in common. Furthermore, I am a woman…and for some reason, I always had it in my head that women don’t (or shouldn’t) smoke weed because it’s tacky.
Another reason I didn’t like smoking? I didn’t exactly know how…I didn’t know when to cover the hole on the pipe with my finger, how long to leave the lighter on it, how much to suck in – I didn’t know anything about it. So I was always a little embarrassed.
But today, pretty much all of this has changed. It’s no longer just the stoners who use marijuana. It’s becoming legalized and normalized. There are so many new products and strains designed to fit the needs of anyone who wants cannabis. The strains that put you on the couch and cloud your head still exist, but there are also strains that make you energetic and feel uplifted; they can even improve your focus. And if you don’t like to smoke, that’s not a problem. You can eat your cannabis, or perhaps you would rather use a thin, sleek vape pen. There’s no smoke, no smell, no stigma, and you know exactly how much you’re getting. For all these reasons, more and more average Joes, mothers and professionals are using cannabis. And they have different expectations and different demands; there is no longer just the demand for strong or weak weed – there is a demand for sexy, designer cannabis.
High end, luxury cannabis will only continue opening the market to include people who like nice things and who want to try cannabis, including a healthy and employed middle class, and upper class.
For this reason, more and more “designer dispensaries” are opening in legal states. These dispensaries are not just shops, they are high design showrooms that sell museum-quality products. The brands must connect with the consumer and provide them with an experience, not merely a purchase.
The experience is unlike any other dispensary experience. The logo doesn’t have a marijuana leaf. It is instead, sleek and simple. It looks like any other luxury brand – so that if you were to carry the bag with you, no one would know you shopped in a dispensary. The packaging is deluxe and beautiful. The staff is friendly and dressed professionally, and they always have someone available to sit down and discuss your needs and expectations from the strain; what feelings do you want to get? Are you using cannabis to treat pain or anything else? What’s your desire? They will help you find the perfect product.
While there are a few luxury cannabis companies in Colorado that provide this luxury branding experience, it’s currently not enough to meet the demand of this growing market.