Women Changing the Face of the Cannabis Industry

As the cannabis industry continues to grow in the United States and around the world, the perceptions of cannabis use is continually evolving as well. Society can no longer label individuals that use cannabis products as “potheads” or “stoners” because those titles simply do not fit in the industry in 2018. With more understanding, education, and communication, we now know that cannabis does not only serve as a substance that caters to those that are lazy or lack ambition. We now know that productive members of society, such as doctors, chefs, and even writers alike use cannabis as a daily piece of their lives, and it does not hinder their productivity.

Realistically, the look of marijuana has changed and in my opinion, has changed for the better. One of the largest benefactors of this change has been women, as the changes in perception have allowed it to be specifically more acceptable for women in the greater eye of society. Prior to changes in regulation, women using marijuana were often considered “unladylike” or inappropriate, which was simply unfair. Based off an article posted in The Guardian by Candice Pires, we will highlight two women who have turned their love for cannabis into viable jobs, while never compromising their professional image. Continue reading “Women Changing the Face of the Cannabis Industry”

Marijuana Dispensaries Tapping Into High Design

Let’s face it. The industry of cannabis is developing into that of a household name, similar to the domination of Tobacco related products for the past century. In 2018, many industries are beginning to take more advanced and technological approaches when it comes to the way they conduct their businesses, and the way that they present them to consumers. The cannabis industry is no different; as consumer perceptions continue to become more and more positive and accepting, the industry itself must adapt to create a culture that is no longer associated with the negative stigmas of marijuana consumption. Professionals in the cannabis industry want their stores to mirror the concept that cannabis can be consumed professionally and is, in fact, a modern substance.

In recent years we have all seen the merging of art and certain industries. Hospitality approaches in the residential, healthcare, retail, and now, cannabis, are all moving towards art for the design. As marijuana becomes legalized across the United States more and more, emerging modern design niche’s make many industries look synonymous. Interior designers of cannabis shops are now looking to design their interiors to the point that if you somehow did not recognize the marijuana, you could easily mistake it for a high-end hair salon or advanced coffee shop. In an article by Meghan Edwards on Interior Design, she outlines 5 different cannabis stores that exhibit modern approaches to interior design.

1) Park Range Recreationals by The High Road Design Studio. Located in Oak Creek, Colorado. 

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Inside look at the Park Range Recreaitonals store by The High Road Design Studio owned by Megan Stone.

For retail designer, Megan Stone, forging a positive connection with the community was her primary goal for the project. Stone owns the first design firm that Interior Design has seen that specializes in retail design. Park Range Recreationals is a 500-square-foot space that keeps a sense of openness due to storage that is cleanly concealed behind wooden panels and stainless-steel canisters. The steel library looking ladder in the left hand corner of the photo above adds to the stores inviting atmosphere. Stone states her reasoning for designing the store as such:

“Design can be a powerful tool in changing negative perceptions of cannabis and elevating the value these businesses can add to a community. As a result, a more sustainable and profitable business is possible.” – Megan Stone, Owner of The High Road Design Studio, 2018

2) Paper & Leaf. by Johnson Squared Architecture and Semigood Design. Located in Bainbridge Island, Washington 

The co-owners of Paper & Leaf opened the doors of the shop in 2017 to embody a central vision; that of a high-end art gallery that featured a warm, inviting atmosphere. The store is very brightly light, features handcrafted wooden cases, and a 12-foot-long oak table that they call the “discovery station”. Brendan Hill and Steven Kessler decided that bamboo lining across the rafters of the store help to banish any concern that their purchase is “taboo”. In other words, they want their customers to know they are purchasing quality marijuana.

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Paper & Leaf by Johnson Squared Architecture and Semigood Design located in Bainbridge Island, Washington State

3)  Columbia Care by Bruce Hampton and RPG. Located in New York City, New York

Design and build firm based in New York city, RPG created a branded experience for 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of New York. The very first flagship was revealed in New York in January 2018. Columbia Care features wood, marble, bronze, and white solid surfacing. These features are meant to appeal to patients, pharmacists, and consultants alike by fostering a contemporary and comfortable environment. Their spaces create a new image for medical marijuana shops due to soft lighting, modern seating, and large-format photos to educate patients on various cannabis products. The store also runs videos and has tablets for each patient to maintain professional.

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Columbia Care by Bruce Hampton and RPG located in New York City, New York.

4) Silverpeak Apothecary by Tanagram Design. Located in Aspen, Colorado.

If you notice the theme, 2 of the shops that we have already mentioned are located in the country’s leader in marijuana sales. Having legalized marijuana in Colorado first, the retail scene is transforming with marijuana shops everywhere. Mentioned by Meghan Edwards, one can expect the stores in Aspen to look much more upscale. Tanagram Design turned Silverpeak into a luxury environment with warm wood accents and sleek display cases.

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Silverpeak Apothecary by Tanagram Design located in Aspen, Colorado. 

5) Pineapple Express by The McBride Company. Pineapple Express is a national chain.

The McBride Company is ahead of the curve with their design concept that they soon plan to implement across the country once legal marijuana takes place nationwide. Their aesthetic of a refined Hawaiian resort. The CEO of the McBride Company is very adamant in providing a sales experience that reflects the continuously evolving perception of marijuana. He states that,

“The store design and atmosphere we created offers consumers a space that incorporates all the elements of great retail design, but addresses the unique display and service challenges faced by the cannabis retail industry.” – Pat McBride, CEO of The McBride Company, 2018

Go check out your local dispensary and see how they have adapted for the modern day political climate and consumer perceptions. Thank you to Meghan Edwards and Interior Design for the wonderful article.

Article: Trending: 5 Marijuana Dispensaries Tap Into High Design

 

Artist Feature: Wiz Khalifa’s Success in the Cannabis Industry

As a longstanding fan of Hip-Hop, whether it be from today’s day in age or the generations of the past, I enjoy when I get a chance to see the artists that I follow develop themselves off of the beat as well. As an inspiring young businessman, I tend to respect artists that have their hands in multiple pots and understand the value of having multiple streams of income. Though they make millions through album sales, touring, promotions, and appearances, the most financially responsible artists know that they can use their capital to invest in other streams of income. While everyone knows about legends Hip-Hop such as Jay Z and P. Diddy creating their respective business empires, there are a few artists careers that I have been following that should also be put on notice. Since this blog is focused upon the ever growing industry of cannabis, our feature for today will be an artist who has made a successful career out of his marijuana based verses and lifestyle:

Wiz Khalifa

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Since releasing his first mixtape in 2006, Prince of the City: Welcome to Pistolvania, Wiz Khalifa has established himself as one of the more prominent artists in the game. The Pittsburgh rapper, heavily influenced by marijuana consumption, has named the majority of his mixtapes or albums based off of cannabis. Titles include Kush and Orange Juice, Rolling Papers I and II, Burn After Rolling, 28 Grams, Bong Rips, and many more.  Of course, there are many artists who are also avid supporters of recreational cannabis use, there are few that have actually turned their passion into tangible dollars. Wiz Khalifa is one of them.

Along with his music, Wiz Khalifa has extended his empire to the digital marketplace and cannabis retail front. On April 20th, 2017, Wiz Khalifa launched his own mobile video game called Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm. The Pittsburgh native worked in tandem with Metamoki, a boutique gaming studio that specializes in making apps on the free-to-play market. The app gives users a virtual glimpse into the future of the cannabis industry. Gamers have the opportunity to grow, harvest, and reinvest their money into the marketplace. Throughout the course of the game, users will receive updates that will allow them to expand their business across the US as cannabis is legalized in the virtual world. In an article posted by Forbes in November of 2017, just 6 months after the release of the game, Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm had already gotten 4 million downloads.

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Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm is currently ranked the #66 Strategy Game and has a 4.8 Star Rating on the app store

 

In the year prior to the release of his gaming app, Wiz Khalifa had already begun selling his own line of marijuana products. Early in 2016, Khalifa announced his partnership with Colorado-based RiverRock Cannabis to sell his own strain, Khalifa Kush. In addition to Khalifa Kush, or KK, Wiz Khalifa and RiverRock have already begun to sell many infused products and concentrates. Khalifa Kush released on April 20th of 2016, and of course, it is not a simple coincidence. According to Forbes, Khalifa brought in an excess of $28 million in 2017 due to Khalifa Kush and the Weed Farm mobile app.

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The rapper has never been shy about his love for marijuana, and has even expanded his business onto the Big Screen. In 2012, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa appeared in the film Mac and Devin Go To High School. Directed by Dylan Brown, the film is a story about two high school students, Mac and Devin form an unlikely bond. The geeky Wiz Khalifa, or “Dev” as called in the movie, befriends Snoop Dogg, or “Mac”, who then introduces him to cannabis. The movie has been considered one of the more successful comedies that revolves around cannabis use.

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Advertisement for Mac & Devin Go To High School Starring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa

The moral of Wiz Khalifa’s story, is that there is always a way to monetize your passions. Prior to his music career, I am sure that he never thought he would own his own strain. After working his way to becoming a national artist, he continued to let his passions drive his business as well. The consumption of cannabis might be his, but to those reading, I hope you all can find a way to make money off of what you love!

The Economic Impact of Cannabis Tourism

A major development in the cannabis industry has been tourism. Particularly with more than half of the states in the US decriminalizing medical marijuana, many states have begun to capitalize on the public’s interest in the substance. In an article on Forbes, Nick Kovacevich goes into depth about the growing industry and how it will continue to develop in the coming years.

The preliminary example that Kovacevich uses comes from San Francisco. He begins to talk about an experience called the Gonja Goddess Getaway, which is a wellness retreat for women who already love cannabis, and those that simply want a safe space to try it for the first time. The retreat consists of yoga, educational classes, spa treatments, and of course unlimited cannabis. The retreat allows its visitors to try it in many different forms, including smoothies, creams, and even vapes. According to the co-founder, Deidra Bagdasarian,

“Cannabis attracts everyone, from lawyers to truckers,” – Deidra Bagdasarian, Co-Founder of Ganja Goddess Getaway, 2018

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A photo from the Ganja Goddess Getaway hosted in San Francisco

Bagdasarian has enjoyed the luxuries of this form of tourism, as she also created Bliss Edibles which is one of the premier cannabis companies in the United States. Her business has expanded so much that she plans to expand across the entire country and overseas in 2019. Her success, however, is not uncommon in this industry. In the Forbes article, it is said that Cannabis Tourism is growing at an incredibly fats rate and attracts thousand of people, which in turn produces millions of dollars in revenue. Kovacevich noted that in Colorado alone, this form of tourism has grown 51% since 2014, according to the states department of revenue. He went further to note that,

“The Colorado DOR said the state attracted some 6.5 million cannabis tourists in 2016, the most recent figures available. It estimates that number will have grown by at least 6% in 2017 and will match or exceed that figure this year. The report said those 6.5 million tourists logged nearly 18 million cannabis-use days in 2016, a clear demonstration of how the state racked up more than $5.2 billion in marijuana sales since it legalized cannabis in January 2014.” – Nick Kovacevich,  Forbes Contributor, 2018

Let me just emphasize these numbers again. Since 2014, just four years ago, the cannabis industry alone in Colorado has contributed $5.2 BILLION to the states economy! Colorado is the prime example because it was the catalyst for the rest of the country to follow suit. Kovacevich also notes the impact California has been monumental as well. Not only are “Wine and Weed” tours are becoming more popular, but so are “Puff and Paint” events. These states have found innovative ways to infuse cannabis use with traditional tourism, allowing for a better experience for tourists. He notes that,

“One tour company plays on the mystique of cannabis, offering tours “behind the curtain” of the legal marijuana industry in six states, along with some sampling along the way.” – Nick Kovacevich,  Forbes Contributor, 2018

Though Cannabis Tourism has produced a great deal of revenue, like the rest of the cannabis industry, it also has a banking problem. Since cannabis use is still considered illegal at the federal level, most banks refuse to do business with companies in the industry. With some states having it legalized and others refusing to do so, the legal uncertainty makes it hard for banks, and destination marketers to promote cannabis tourism. States are beginning to wake up to the potential, but there is a lot of work to be done.

According to Marijuana Business Factbook, the economic impact of legal marijuana will increase 223% from 2017 to 2022. Using the Great Experiment as an example, also called Colorado, we can assume that the more touristy the area of a certain state, the higher the cost of marijuana, which in turn generates higher sales tax revenue. In 2017, cannabis sales were higher than alcohol sales in Aspen for the first time in history. Even small towns near the border with states where cannabis use is not legalized have seen significantly higher per capita sales than interior areas of the state. This indicates that the out-of-state market of potential customers on a day-trip can be just as potent.

Even in Nevada, where cannabis use is outlawed on the Vegas Strip, people are finding a way to cash in on the industry. After marijuana revenue exceeded expectations by 25% in 2017, Nevada policy makers began to consider smoking parlors and pot lounges to draw more tourist. Kovacevich added that,

“In November [2018], a sort of cannabis theme park will open in Las Vegas, featuring laser graffiti walls, giant flying orbs, and light and water shows. And that’s before guests get to the dispensary.” – Nick Kovacevich, Forbes Contributor, 2018

In the coming years it is inevitable for us to see more cities loosen their restrictions on cannabis tourism, due to the fact that so much revenue is involved. It will be interesting to see how cities adapt around the development of the cannabis industry, and try to incorporate it into their tourism pitch. Comment which cities you would like to visit for your first Cannabis Tourism experience!

Article: The Next Big Thing In Cannabis: Tourism

Legal Marijuana As An Alternative To Opioids

Continuing with the focus of the impact that legal marijuana has on Colorado, The Hemp Chronicles will now switch the focus to it’s impact on the health front. In our last post we discussed the financial and economic implications that legal cannabis has had on Colorado, but not the public health.

From a study from the Washington Post, it is apparent that marijuana legalization in Colorado helped facilitate a reverse of opiate related deaths. In the research published by the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has helped to save lives even. The authors are quick to emphasize that the results are preliminary since the study took place in 2017, just three years after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014. From the study, the authors reported that,

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years”M. Livingston, T. Barnett, C. Delcher, and A. Wagenaar, American Journal of Public Health

Many prior reports have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid related deaths, the report from the American Journal of Public Health is the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths. Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post notes that marijuana is often highly effective at treating similar chronic pain that opiates are often prescribed for. Ingraham notes that from the standpoint of public health, this current trend is positive, as marijuana carries almost no risk of fatal overdose opposed to opioid use. He notes that,

“Overall, after controlling for both medical marijuana and the prescription-drug-monitoring change, the study found that after Colorado implemented its recreational marijuana law, opioid deaths fell by 6.5 percent in the following two years.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Graph version 2The authors are careful to note that policymakers would want to continue to monitor these numbers in coming years to see if the trend continues. And while they are positive that cannabis use can be a sustainable alternative to opioids and other prescribed drugs, they are quick to emphasize that legal marijuana can increase fatalities in other areas. Other areas can include fatalities related to driving under the influence of marijuana, yet the figures have not proved there to be any significant relation. Regardless the study supports the concept that,

“… increasing marijuana availability could help reduce the toll of America’s opiate epidemic, which claims tens of thousands of lives each year.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Article: Legal Marijuana Is Saving Lives In Colorado, Study Finds

The Great Experiment

While many states have legalized marijuana as of 2018, well at least medical marijuana use in most cases, Colorado was the first of its kind. The legalization of marijuana use in the state of Colorado is considered one of America’s greatest experiment to date. Though no one knew exactly what was to come from marijuana legalization, it is clear that the state has seen numerous benefits. In 2014 Colorado became the first state where marijuana, often referred to as “pot”, was made recreational. Voting numbers for the so called “Great Experiment” were unprecedented, and natives of the state have seen vast changes since its implementation. The so called “experiment” has been very beneficial for Colorado.

As of 2018, just four years after the legalization of cannabis, Colorado continues to be characterized by record low unemployment rates. As of March of 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado has an unemployment rate of just 3%, while the national average is at 3.9%. In 2017, only three years after it’s legalization, Colorado reached a record-low unemployment rate at 2.6% in May. Multiple factors contribute to Colorado’s low level of unemployment, including the state’s business-friendly policies.

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The chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the historical high and low unemployment rates for Colorado

According to Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s very low business tax rate is one of the lowest in the country at 4.6%. Carey Wedler from the Word On Tree, another blog based on the business of cannabis, noted that Colorado’s approach to business taxes has helped create over 60,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, however it is undeniable that the cannabis industry has played a vital role in the states development. Wedler states that in 2016 alone,

“Cannabis generated $1.3 billion in profit, which yielded nearly $200 million in tax revenue that the state is using for various programs, including education, substance abuse and cannabis awareness programs for youth, and even the Attorney General’s office.” – Carey Wedler, Word on Tree, 2017

With over a billion dollars worth of business in one industry, it is inevitable that jobs would follow. In 2015 alone, just a year after the implementation of recreational cannabis, the industry created 18,000 full time jobs. The Washington Post reported that,

“These indirect impacts of marijuana legalization came from increased demand on local goods and services: growers rent warehouse space and purchase sophisticating lighting and irrigation equipment, for instance. Marijuana retailers similarly rely on other companies, like contractors, lawyers and book-keeping services, to conduct their own businesses.”

marijuana-legal-pot-sales-620The trend has not slowed down, as the industry continues to increase on jobs and revenue. In 2016, CBS posted a report that according to the Marijuana Business Daily, Colorado has more than 27,000 occupational licenses, which was up from the nearly 16,000 licenses that were held at the end of 2014. In order to compare the impact of the economy that the legalization of cannabis has versus clean energy, we can look at the number of jobs that were created. In the article on Word of Tree posted by Carey Wedler, clean energy jobs outnumber the amount of cannabis jobs by more than 35,000, the actual speed of job creation is faster with marijuana. According to the Denver Business Journal, the clean energy sector created 1,583 new jobs in 2014. In opposition, the Marijuana Business Daily reported that,

“….  In May of 2014 that less than six months after legalization, the cannabis industry had already generated between 1,000 and 2,000 new jobs — roughly the same number of jobs as clean energy created in the course of the whole year.”

These numbers really speak for themselves and have major implications for the rest of the country. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I have already seen some of these implications manifest themselves first-hand. Business Insider noted that the state of California, which legalized marijuana in November of 2016, could see major economic benefits. In the state capital region alone, there can be an increase of 20,000 potential jobs if it becomes a hub for the industry. Even though it has proven to be an economic bonus for Colorado and states that have followed suit, many remain reluctant to admit it’s impact. Even Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado initially opposed legalization, yet changed his mind once he saw positive results. He believes it is too soon to know what the downsides are of legalized marijuana, but he now remains optimistic. He even notes that the state has not seen a big spike in teenage consumption, or any consumption; it is now just through a regulated process.

Related Links:

Word on Tree : First State to Legalize Weed Has Lowest Unemployment Rate in the Country

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Eight States at Historically Low Unemployment Rates in March 2018

CBS News: Measuring Colorado’s “Great Experiment” With Marijuana