With thirty-seven states, four territories, and the District of Columbia allowing for at least medical sale and use of cannabis products, dispensaries have become fixtures in communities all over the United States. Meanwhile, the consolidation race at the north end of the market has led to more and more small, hyper-local businesses with devoted customer bases being gobbled up and “flipped” into national chains. The rapid proliferation of chains owned by multistate operators (MSOs) is bringing cutting-edge design and operations to every corner of the country—much more quickly, in some cases, than equally cutting-edge products arise to fill shelves. Though flips may seem almost de rigeur by now, successfully orchestrating one is much trickier than it might appear.
As the retail experience evens out across the country, it’s an opportune time to explore the design elements that are essential to the well-dressed cannabis shop. What did the industry learn about design over the difficult past two years? How has the customer journey changed? And where are the biggest opportunities—and challenges—in the retail space?