retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times about how a marijuana shop there called MedMen is consciously emulating the Apple Store in its design and approach.

"Sunlight streams in through the store’s floor-to-ceiling windows," the Times writes. "Inside, salespeople in bright red T-shirts greet shoppers. Merchandise is carefully arranged on sleek wooden tables lined with iPads. It’s a retail scene reminiscent of an Apple store, but the high-tech gadgets on sale are vape pens.

"After years of bullet-proof glass and burglar bars, marijuana shops are starting to get a makeover."

The belief seems to be that with recreational marijuana catching on - it is now legal in eight states, and estimates are that it could become a $50 billion industry by 2026, up from $6 billion in 2016 - it makes sense to invest in the retail side, offering a compelling shopping experience at odds with the industry's reputation for a "generally dingy shopping experience."

Troy Dayton, chief executive of Arcview Group, a marijuana research and investment firm, says that there is an “upscale revolution in cannabis retailing. It now makes sense to invest in your property and make it awesome for the long haul."

And one marijuana retailer confirms that the goal is to make customers feel right at home by offering an environment that is reminiscent of the Apple Store, Whole Foods, or Starbucks.
KC's View:
While I have some personal ambivalence about legal recreational pot, that doesn't really factor into my opinion that these companies may be facing some legal hurdles in the near future. It seems entirely possible that the new administration and Congress may be less accepting of the trend, and could try to enforce the federal drug laws that are different from state laws. The new President has been very vocal about his personal abstemiousness when it comes to drugs, alcohol and even coffee, and the role that addiction had in his brother's death ... and it remains to be seen how those feelings could translate into policy.