Cannabis dispensary Columbia Care is rolling out a rebrand and elevating its retail locations as the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal in more states and starts to normalize.
The weed cultivator and manufacturer, with a reputation as a medical supplier, is aligning its retail properties across the country under one name: Cannabist. Columbia Care will remain as the parent company, operating redesigned dispensaries across the country that aim to attract the growing number of Americans who are looking into cannabis for recreational use, as well as medicinal purposes.
Jesse Channon, chief growth officer at Columbia Care, says there is a need for welcoming, inviting spaces for people who are discovering the plant for the first time. With an Apple-like retail setting, new technology and staff undergoing new training, Cannabist hopes to deliver just that.
“Right now, a lot of dispensary and retail experiences are really built around the buyer, someone coming in who knows about the product,” says Channon. “What we want to do is create an experience that was driven off of this concept of empathetic education and really no judgement, come as you are.”
As such, the new retail spaces are inspired by the hospitality industry as well as the Apple Genius bar and the sophisticated style of Starbucks. The move follows a trend in the cannabis space—a shift away from shady weed deals to luxurious, high-end shops. In the case of Cannabist, visitors can expect curated, higher-end products across price points, from $16 CBD masks to $100 cannabis tablets. In fact, some items might actually be less expensive than before, says Channon.
Previously, Columbia Care dispensaries had the product available in boxes behind the cashier. The new dispensaries place the weed strains front and center. There’s also now bar areas for discovery and self-serve kiosks. The design of the new shops pays homage to the fact that Columbia Care began in New York with an art deco design and aesthetic, and designed with the three core pillars of the brand in mind: “Higher knowledge, higher standard and higher experience.” The tagline “higher experience” appears on the wall of the space itself.