At Wyllow, a weed store in Los Angeles, a goal is to create a multi-sensory shopping experience that includes a cannabis terpene scent installation and custom LED-lighting that evolves from day to night.Credit…Joe Schmelzer for The New York Times
Grateful Dead tapestries. Lava lamps. The distinctive orange inspired by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dust painted indiscriminately on walls.
Until now, these were the markings of marijuana dispensaries, dripping with 1960s hippie nostalgia and the musings of the stereotypical stoner, and it’s high time for the cannabis aesthetic to get a refresh, cannabis entrepreneurs say.
Dispensaries and design studios are playing a game of catch up, as cannabis legalization has become more widespread across the United States in recent years. Many entrepreneurs want to strip the plant of any past negative associations, opening the door to reach new types of customers. This moment creates an opportunity to tell a brand’s story from scratch, and it’s leading to a revolution in how spaces for cannabis consumption and retail are being presented. Think less weed-dealer-core, and more high-end boutique or fancy cocktail lounge.
“It’s a quality plant. Going into a dispensary should be a quality experience,” said Kim Myles, the co-founder of MylesMoore, a design firm that revamps the interiors of mom-and-pop cannabis dispensaries across the country. She is the host of a show, “High Design,” which airs on Discovery+Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times
“The retail environments for cannabis don’t match the money people are spending on it, nor do they match the diversity of the consumers,” said Kim Myles, the co-founder of MylesMoore, a design firm that revamps the interiors of mom-and-pop cannabis dispensaries across the country. “It’s a quality plant. Going into a dispensary should be a quality experience. There’s no way we are going to overcome the stigma it has if we don’t change the touch point for the consumer.”
Ms. Myles, who is based in Jersey City, launched her firm earlier this year after she worked her way up from bud-tender to assistant manager at a dispensary. She also boasts her cannabis design expertise on her show, “High Design,” which airs on Discovery+.
On one recent makeover, Ms. Myles collaborated with a local florist to create a massive floral installation with the brand logo in the waiting room of a dispensary in Denver. It made for the perfect Instagrammable moment, but also “we were giving the business a tangible connection to the rest of artistic and creative community that they live with,” Ms. Myles said.
There’s plenty of reason to invest in the design of cannabis spaces. In the United States, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry that’s yet to hit its peak. This month, President Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of federal charges for marijuana possession. Last year, New York and several other states legalized recreational marijuana, a trajectory that most Americans agree with, a 2021 Pew survey found. In 2020 alone, legal cannabis sales in the United States were upward of $17.5 billion, and New York has estimated that the industry could create as many as 60,000 new jobs in the state.
Published: October 17, 2022
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