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Capitalism and the Cannabis Highs in California

In California Jan 1st 2018 legalization of marijuana occurred.

What did this mean for Los Angeles?

Let us have a little look.

Places like Browner’s, run by Dr. Dina Browner, an alternative herbal health service dispensary, one of only four L.A. County stores licensed for adult use of cannabis, became even more popular.

The next day after legalization, lines stretched down the street.  Browner says, “There were people who just wanted to say they bought marijuana legally, that they’d been waiting all their lives for this moment, and that was the case whether you were 25 or 65.”

Just up the block from them is MedMen, which is taking you more on an Apple Store or Starbucks experience of retail weed.  Dazzling displays, with iPads, will help you identify many weed strains.  In its creation, you can examine buds through a magnifying glass and take in their aromas.

MedMen has B.J. Carretta as their chief marketing officer.  Carretta a veteran of Fender Guitar and NBC Sports, learned corporate branding and guerilla marketing for action events with Red Bull and Mountain Dew.

The goal is to have people keep coming back and that they are.  This industry in 2016 was reported as worth $6 billion, with the projected growth now to $50 billion by 2026.  According to Fast Co. business is booming and dispensaries are making the transition from having patients to now calling them customers.

Amazingly traffic in January for MedMen was 2500 customers, a 350% increase from the previous year

Amazing results for this company, which was, founded over a decade ago by partners Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin.  They have locations in Beverly Hills, Venice, West L.A., Santa Ana, South Broadway in L.A, San Diego, Las Vegas, New York and even planning of going public in Canada, with being listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange.

With MedMen already having a compliance ready system, this can only help them grow even further.

Then you have Buds & Roses, an upscale Studio City boutique dispensary owned by Aaron Justis.  They have seen growth as well over the past few months with having doubled its clientele.  Many are not operating legitimately in order to avoid taxes, which annoys Justis.

Justis is considerate of his longstanding medical patients and is helping with the increased traffic by dedicating waiting lines and planning on opening up earlier to accommodate the sick and elderly who need it.  “We want to make sure everybody who comes through these doors has a great experience,” says Justis.

“We’re on a mission to remain true to the cannabis plant,” insists Buds & Roses’ Justis. “We’d like to think we’re a company with some soul that stands for something.”

The boom of products is seen also on shelves at places like Colorado-based vape, edible, energy drink manufacturer and distributor Organa Brands and L/A. pre-roll packager and flower cultivator Lowell Herb Co.  “Legalization has been tremendous for us,” says Organa Brands U.S. president Chris Driessen.

Like Justis, Driessen is waiting for stricter enforcement on illegal dispensaries, so it is a level playing field for everyone.

Then you have Lowell founders David Elias and Sean Black who are keeping tabs on keeping their product as clean as possible and paying its Northern California small farmers a proper living wage.  While also driving their trademark which comes from the legend of a California grower named William “Bull” Lowell, who began harvesting hemp on his farm in 1909, only to have a Henry J. Finger, member of the California Board of Pharmacy, amend the Poison Act in 1913 to outlaw cannabis because “the fear is now that they [Hindoos] are initiating our whites into this habit.”

“The fight to legalize cannabis has been going on a long time,” says Lowell’s Elias. “We wanted to acknowledge in our marketing.  We’re very sensitive to working with people who share our values. We’re not out for a quick buck.  We want to become the first great American cannabis brand. We want to be around 10 or 20 years from now. We believe there’s something special about this plant.”

It will be interesting to see what will happen over the next few years, as cannabis and capitalism co-exist in this brave, new world.

With dreams of cannabis cafes and marijuana tours in our future, if anything can give capitalism a new heart, it’s the canna-business.

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Capitalism and the Cannabis Highs in California

by Sonia Landry time to read: 3 min