High Times And High Design: Marijuana Dispensaries Go Upscale As The Dollars Roll In

No longer a shady business of seedy bars and back alleys, marijuana is rolling in more than papers these days.

By Jeff Vasishta April 25, 2017

There was a time when buying marijuana (so I’m told) consisted of furtively seeking out dubious characters after dark. Now the shame about getting high has vaporized and dope dispensaries have gone high end. Some look like they could be on Rodeo Dive, others, an art gallery in Soho.
You only need to take a look at the dramatic and expensive store designs to see that the emerging legal marijuana industry is the fastest-growing industry in the United States.

Here are 10 dispensaries you in which you could almost pretend you were visiting to check out the aesthetic.

Related: Size Doesn’t Matter As Architects Plot High Rises On Odd Shaped NYC Lots

New England Treatment Access (NETA) – 160 Washington St., Brookline, MA
A former bank, no less, is the surprising place where a dispensary has finally been able to call home after three years of negotiations. Put together by Swiss-American architect Franz Joseph Untersee, best known for his design of  Roman Catholic churches, the airy interior features a wide stone floor, soaring blue domed ceiling, towering columns, high arched windows, and a wood-lined balcony. Heavenly.

The Bloom Room, 471 Jessie St., San Francisco, CA 94103
This does weed as only San Francisco can. It is a Collective, meaning, all the medicine provided for its patients has also been produced by the patients in the Collective. In order to become a member and buy their medical marijuana, you need to have a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis, and a proof of California Residency (CA ID).There’s a member page on the website and a medical cannibis menu. It’s airy and well lit, like the medical practices it is associates with.

Related: Emotional Rescue: How Technology And Experiences Are Keeping Customers At Malls

Barbary Coast, 952 Mission St., San Francisco, CA
Another San Francisco dispensary. This, alternatively, has the feel of an old jazz club. Exposed brick, dark woods, brass bar stools and Asian rugs give this an upscale, luxurious feel.

Good Chemistry, 16840 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013
Good Chemistry perhaps but good marketing, for sure. Slick design and color coded categories for recommended uses of their various products: stimulation, sleep, relief and relaxation give this  retailer an easy to understand advantage over much of its competition.

Serra, 220 SW1st Ave., Portland, OR
Looking as much like a jeweler’s as a marijuana dispensary on the inside, on the outside, the matt black awning could have you mistaken that you are entering into a stylish boutique. In fact, the sign, “Purveyors of Quality Drugs,”, printed across the windows, will make you do a double take to make sure you read correctly.

The Green Easy, 8311 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
LA has a long and storied history with weed, from ’70’s rock to ’90’s hip-hop and a slew of Hollywood heart-throbs in between. The Green Easy, though, leaves the sleaze and soporific vapors behind and opts for the classy medical center aesthetic, with a touch of Hollywood glam. The floors are white and marble and the chandeliers crystal and top-notch.

Ajoya, 1100 W. Dillon Rd., D-3, Louisville, CO
Looking more like a Sephora make-up counter at a futuristic airport or a fancy metropolitan cocktail bar, glass, glitz and gleam make customers feel positively sophisticated about getting stoned.

Silver Peak, 520 East Cooper Avenue., Aspen Co.
What would you expect from Aspen, Colorado. The money-ed ski resort of the rich and fabulous. This light wood paneled dispensary looks like the kind of apres piste place where the Hollywood set hang up their designer garb and talk movie deals.

Level Up, 14980 N.78th Way, Ste. 204, Scottsdale, AZ
Walk into this plac, and expect flip-flops and a bathrobe. The spa-like quality, extends through to herribone floors, green and grey colors and recessed lighting. You’ll feel better the moment you walk in…or maybe that’s just the resins.

TruMed, 1613 N. 40th St. Phoenix, AZ 85008
The slick finishes, bright colors and sign advertising a “State-Wide Dispensary” could almost have you fooled into thinking that this was an actual pharmacy. However, names such as Animal Cookies and Bananas & Cream will have you thinking otherwise.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.
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