“Legislators put the cannabis into Canada last week, as the nation became the first major world economy to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Now, as the barriers come crashing down across North America on the sale of what was once reviled as “Reefer Madness”, it’s fascinating to watch how retailers are responding.
A whole new crop of “marijuana merchants” (and support services) are popping up, literally inventing the category as they go. In anticipation of what might be called “the green wave”, an event was recently held in Chicago to help puzzle out “The Future Of Cannabis Retail”.
“We are yet to become familiar with what a cannabis store should look like,” observed organizer Gwen Morrison, CEO The Store WPP*, The Americas. “Right now, the experience is inconsistent, as the category extends from the cold dispensary formats to lifestyle boutique. In the future, some stores may look like bakeries, others may take on the look of fine jewelry. As the BBC recently speculated, ‘seedy headshops’could be a thing of the past.”
One of the panelists at the event, Steve Weisman, CEO of Windy City Cannabis, believes that the best cue for the nascent category is specialty retail, with “the foundation…the knowledge of the employees”. Hence the importance of the “budtender”, the industry’s term for expert sales associates. “Having well-educated, very polished staff is incredibly important and it will drive the entire experience,” said Weisman.”
Extract form Original Article: Jon Bird, Forbes