For a lot of us in the U.S., obtaining our marijuana once involve back alley, shady deals with less than reputable characters. However, legalization efforts across the country are quickly changing how we purchase, consume, and view cannabis. 99 High Tide Collective, one of LA’s marijuana shops is trying to take things one step further. Following what some would describe as a “New Age” aesthetic, complete with items representing Native American spirituality and eastern philosophy, their shop looks and sounds more like something akin to a modern yoga studio than a marijuana dispensary.
On one wall of 99 High Tide Collective in Malibu, mosses and succulents are nestled in a frame of locally procured driftwood. Native American dream catchers dripping with feathers and sea shells hang from the pot dispensary’s ceilings. Vases of white lilies perfume the air. In a side room, visitors can lie on a heated crystal blanket and receive reiki, sound treatments and other ministrations.
Also, as a result of expanded legalization, there is now a vast increase in product quality and varieties available to consumers which is something that High Tide and other similar marijuana shops hope to be able to capitalize on. The way they see it, having an abundant variety of different products available lends itself naturally to an increased customer base.
For many years, cannabis users have largely had to settle for whatever they could find. The products available at High Tide show how companies operating in a legal market have taken a raw material – cannabis – and with design and marketing savvy created products targeting a far broader range of consumers than an illegal product ever could.
Another side effect of the country’s legalization efforts is that the consumption methods for marijuana have drastically increased in variety. In prior years, most consumers would only really have the choice of purchasing marijuana flower for smoking. Or, if the user was feeling particularly motivated, that same flower was used for making edibles of one form or another (often leading to a messy kitchen and less than tasty results). Now that legalization has taken hold in some states, there are myriad ways to consume the drug from concentrates, to professionally made edibles, and even sublingual tinctures.
It’s a world apart from the pot shops Green encountered years ago. Photograph: Alex Halperin
As more consumers prefer the discretion and convenience of packaged products, flower has begun to look more like a niche market for connoisseurs. According to a survey by the California cannabis delivery company Eaze, in December 2017 flower and pre-rolled joints accounted for roughly half its sales, down from about 80% two years earlier. Manufactured edibles, concentrates and vapes account for the balance.
Still for some, discretion, ease of use, as well as privacy, continue to be key factors. And, despite legalization being that much more mainstream in the last few years, marijuana unfortunately still has a significant negative stigma associated with its use. Shops like High Tide and many others are working hard towards changing that!
Inside High Tide’s showroom, a blackboard lists several dozen strains of “flower”. Illustration: George Wylesol
Vape pens and edibles bring convenience and discretion to a product that traditionally is neither. These new products make it easy to indulge in movie theaters, planes, cubicles and other settings where lighting a joint is illegal.
Dream catchers, succulents and joints: a visit to an LA cannabis shop | Society | The Guardian
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