A boutique hotel-style reception desk to welcome you. Products beautifully displayed in brightly lit glass cases. Leather lounge chairs to relax in while you shop and sample items. You may feel like you’ve stepped into Hermès. It’s actually your neighborhood marijuana dispensary.
As recreational cannabis is becoming more acceptable, decriminalized, and even legalized, across the US, dispensaries are working hard elevate the industry as it goes legitimate.
Forgoing the dark, and frankly sketchy, head shops of days past, dispensaries are teaming up with design firms to be sure their stores are bright, welcoming, and seriously stylish. Here’s a look at three dispensaries that are putting as much thought into the design of their spaces as in the quality of their product.
While recreational marijuana may be decriminalized at the state level, federally it is still a banned substance. With this in mind, and as a nod to San Francisco’s famous red-light district of the early 1900s, Barbary Coast Dispensary has a speakeasy vibe. Originally opened in 2013 as a medical marijuana dispensary, Barbary Coast expanded in 2017 to include a swanky, two-room lounge where you can dab or vape. Relax with your product of choice in tufted leather high-back banquets, lit by Tiffany-inspired stained glass chandeliers. With thoughtful touches like the dark wood coffered ceiling and red-flocked velvet damask wallpaper, Barbary Coast’s lounge takes you back in time to an old boys’ club, while indulging in their extensive menu of products.
Oregon had a head start on the rest of the country when it comes to dispensaries. It was the first state to decriminalize recreational marijuana back in 1973 (eventually legalizing recreational cannabis in 2014). Since then, Portland has led the way in the new look for dispensaries, pioneering the sleek, bright, trendy style typically reserved for Apple stores.
From the outside, Serra in downtown Portland could be just another shop, but inside it’s a brightly lit space with product carefully displayed in custom cases. The name Serra is Italian for ‘greenhouse’ and this theme plays throughout the shop. From the shape of the display cases to the living wall that adds a pop of green to the otherwise white walls. Complimenting the greenhouse vibe are trendy touches like painted brick walls, exposed steel ceiling beams, and geometric tile flooring. It all makes for a very “Portland” shopping experience.
For a closer look at Serra, check out our full profile on the place.
A welcome area styled after boutique hotel lobbies hides something special behind its charcoal gray wall. Level Up Dispensary, designed by High Road Studio, feels like stepping into an exclusive luxury store in Europe. The design is so sophisticated, you may question if they actually sell marijuana here and not Rolex watches. A color palette of gray and hunter green create a soothing atmosphere while high-end finishes add a classy touch. Herringbone wood floors create continuity between the lounge area and the showroom. Visitors can relax in leather chairs while they wait to shop. Display cases brightly show off the product kept in glass tubes. The design lives up to the name, making Level Up a step above the head shops of the past.