Marijuana dispensaries have come a long way from the seedy head shops lining Venice Beach.
Today, these brick-and-mortar establishments range from boutique shops where “budtenders” walk you through the product line to fluorescent-lit clinics where medicinal use is emphasized.
The dispensary of the future was a hot topic at last week’s New West Summit in San Francisco, California. Here’s what we learned.
Vaporizers, an extension of the e-cigarette fad, are electric devices that apply heat to dry flowers or marijuana-infused liquid and create an inhalable vapor. Vaping is cheaper and healthier than smoking, and the industry is only now heating up.
In 2015, the retail vaping industry is expected to rake in $3.5 billion, more than twice the $1.7 billion estimate for 2013, a Wells Fargo Securities analyst tells CNBC.
New users are drawn to the devices because of the variety of smart, discreet models that are quickly being introduced at every price point. There’s something for everyone, from disposable vape pens slim enough to double as a writing utensil to the “iPod of vaporizers.”
You’ll see more women shoppers inside.
Just three years ago, men were nearly 50% more likely to smoke pot than women. But as the political and social stigma against cannabis continues to fall, you’ll see more ladies shopping for Mary Jane.
“When I opened in 2004, only 10% of our patient base were women,” says Aundre Speciale, director of Cannabis Buyers Club Berkeley and owner of two medicinal marijuana dispensaries in California. “Now, it’s getting close to 50–50. That to me is so incredible.”
The industry may also see more women behind the counter and in the C-suite. According to a survey by Marijuana Business Daily, women hold 36% of leadership positions in the cannabis industry — well above the 22% average for US companies in general.