Paving the Way for Luxury Cannabis

(This article was published in the October 2017 issue of VIP Club Scene Magazine.)

For years, recreational use of marijuana has had a negative stigma, but the days of buying weed from a sketchy drug dealer behind an alley are long gone. Following the 2017 election, the United States now has 8 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Although smoking weed has been thought to be mostly for the not-so-classy crowd, the booming cannabis industry is proving otherwise by changing the way it’s sold, creating unique vacation experiences, and through celebrity involvement.

When you walk into a luxury brand store, you expect to see a clean, well-lit room with its products displayed in glass cases. This is exactly how some cannabis dispensaries are laying out their stores. There are several high-end and beautifully laid out stores across the country. One of these beautiful stores is Serra in Portland, Oregon.

Downtown Portland’s Serra prides itself in being different and more upscale than the stereotypical weed store. The store has big glass windows and doors allowing lots of natural light to come in. Upon entering the lobby area, customers are asked for ID before being allowed to enter into the next room. Customers must be 21 and over, unless they’re 18 and have a medical card.

Inside the store, it is brightly lit with soft music playing in the background. Products are displayed in glass, pyramid-shaped cases, which resemble a jewelry store. In the third room, a big LED screen lists the products and prices. Budtenders (bud plus bartender, get it?) are happy to help. Customers can fill out a feelings card to record what type of feeling they’re seeking. This helps the budtender find the perfect strain. The feeling options are: relaxed, focused, creative, happy, energetic, or relief. Each cannabis strain is clearly labeled and enclosed in a glass case. Magnifying glasses are available to take a closer look at the product.

Serra isn’t the only cannabis store that is changing the purchasing experience. The upscale cannabis trend is catching on and there are several stores across the country—and even across the world—that are following this particular model.

The increasing number of states that have now legalized recreational marijuana use has opened up several opportunities to cash in on the cannabis business. One of the many luxuries that people can indulge in, is a relaxing vacation and the cannabis industry is tapping into this world as well.

Colorado has been a leading pioneer in the cannabis business since they legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012. With over 400 cannabis stores, they have more dispensaries than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined! It almost comes as no surprise that they would find a way to combine their beautiful outdoor scenery with, yup, you guessed it: weed.

One of Colorado’s most alluring cannabis experiences, which is quickly becoming popular in other states as well, is the Bud and Breakfast at the Adagio in Denver. You can enjoy a cannabis friendly stay starting at $299 per night if you are 21+. The stay includes a complimentary wake+bake and 4:20 happy hour appetizers. If you’re with a significant other, you can opt for one of their couple’s packages that include cannabis infused massages, chocolate covered strawberries, and champagne.

Much like a spa resort, the idea behind cannabis friendly resorts is to further promote a relaxing and therapeutic environment.   

In California, where it’s common to hear the phrase “California Dreaming,” and where some of the biggest celebrities reside, recreational use will officially begin January 2018. Something tells us we might be seeing some luxury cannabis resorts there in the near future that might attract some A-listers.  

Speaking of A-listers, like with most popular businesses, it doesn’t take long for celebrities to get involved. After all, it’s common to see celebrities’ names attached to famous alcoholic beverages, but will they do the same for cannabis strains? A few have already done so! Can you guess one of them?

Snoop Dogg has long been an avid fan of marijuana, so of course he has his own brand! In 2015, he launched Leafs by Snoop which features 8 of his favorite strains as well as several edibles. “Leafs by Snoop is my way of sharing the experience I have with the finest quality cannabis one could imagine,” says Snoop on his website. The decadent products come in beautifully colored packaging with his gold brand perfectly stamped on each item. This is no balled up plastic baggie!

Stoner veterans Tommy Chong and Willie Nelson; and rappers Wiz Khalifa and Ghostface Killah are also on the list of celebrities with their own cannabis products.   

Whoopi Goldberg and singer Melissa Etheridge joined team cannabis for its medicinal attributes. Goldberg partnered with businesswoman Maya Elisabeth to produce cannabis edibles and rubs to help alleviate menstrual cramps. Etheridge used cannabis products to help her while she went through breast cancer treatment and is now hoping to help others with her own brand.  

The tricky thing about the cannabis industry is that marijuana is still considered illegal by federal law, but it’s evident that there are many people hoping to change that. Marijuana has been used for its medicinal purposes for many, many years and was even a major cash crop in the United States up until the late 1800s when it was replaced by cotton.  

Recreational cannabis use has been criticized by many, but its advocates are working hard to promote a safe and pleasurable experience. Much like alcohol, cannabis went through its own prohibition era, but unlike alcohol, cannabis never made it out—until now, that is. Whether you are smoking recreationally or for medical reasons, always be sure you keep your health in check. And also, always keep it luxurious- like how everything in life should be.

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