U.S. Marijuana Stores Take on a New Look and Feel

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From alleys and street corners to upscale retail stores in trendy shopping areas — legal marijuana shops have changed the way consumers shop for cannabis in the United States.

Now that 25 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, many Americans are heading to medical and recreational pot dispensaries to buy cannabis.

Cannabis shops that first popped up in states where weed was legalized weren’t much to look at — utilitarian design with stark white walls, a couple of posters, metal chairs and bulletproof glass (or metal bars) on the windows, but the retail business has rapidly evolved. What you see now might surprise you.

For example, here’s what you’ll experience if you shop for marijuana at Ajoya, a pot shop in Louisville, Colorado. Says the Denver Post:

[Ajoya] is as sleek as anything in the local shopping mall, a trendy boutique that aims to make the buying experience as pleasant as imbibing the products for sale. … The 2,000-square-foot showroom has undeniable roots in the most successful retail operation of our time — the Apple store. Only sample ware is on display and each object is shown off under glass, and in bright light. Products glow, especially colorful items, like raspberry red jellies and cocoa-colored chocolates. The pipes and vapes in the side cabinets seem to radiate from within.

Colorado is one of three states, along with Washington and Oregon, where recreational use of marijuana is legal.

The Clinic is another pot dispensary with locations in Colorado, Illinois and Nevada. Its new flagship store in Denver cost more than $1 million to build, The Denver Post’s Cannabist website reports. That’s a far cry from the $150,000 it first spent to build a pot dispensary in 2009.

The new store has an “art-meets-science aesthetic” that incorporates skylights, lots of natural light, earth tones and artfully displayed cannabis products, creating a retail store that is both sleek and professional, The Cannabist says.

“Let’s be industry-agnostic here,” Clinic president and CEO Scott Thorn says of his new store. “We wanted to create a retail experience that measured up to stores in any industry. We wanted to be able to translate our brand into a physical and operational environment.”

Creating a cannabis shop that is “inviting, engaging, and classy,” is a smart business move, says Money, as that encourages people to shop longer and purchase more items.

Cannabis dispensaries generate an impressive average annual revenue of $974 per square foot, Money also reported, citing the Marijuana Business Factbook.

Sales from the legal marijuana industry are expected to reach $6.7 billion this year and $21.8 billion by 2020.

Find out how “Marijuana Is Helping to Address the U.S. Health Spending Crisis.”

Have you shopped in a cannabis dispensary? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

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