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Retailing cannabis: A budding industry that’s started to bloom.

Whatever your thoughts are on marijuana, one thing’s for sure: the industry is growing like a weed since last year’s sprawling ‘Farm Bill’ passed in the US.

The bill removed all hemp plants and derivatives with THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) levels below 0.3 percent from the drug schedule, thus opening up the doors for a whole new legal industry based on consumable cannabinoid (CBD) oil and leading to an explosion of new products. 

These food products won’t get you high, but proponents claim they’ll chill you out and calm you down, kind of like an anti-coffee. They may even help ease pain or improve concentration, although this isn’t proven.

This came not long after Canada legalised the sale of recreational marijuana nationwide in October. And although marijuana is still technically illegal at a federal level in the US, it’s (perplexingly) legal in 10 US states and counting. Next year New Zealand is set to hold a referendum where the legalisation of cannabis is widely expected to pass. There’s even talk of Australia and The UK following suit. 

Across the Western world, it’s looking like we’re at the start of a green rush. Let’s take a glance at what this has looked like in the burgeoning edible cannabinoid space, as well as some standout pot shops, or ‘cannabis dispensaries’ as they refer to themselves.

Time to take a recess

Recess is a new flavoured sparkling water that’s infused with hemp extract (no psychoactive THC) and ‘adaptogens’ (herbal extracts) to promote feelings of wellness, balance and clarity. ‘Not tired, not wired’ is the tagline, and there’s three delicious sounding flavours – Blackberry Chai, Peach Ginger and Pom Hibiscus.

Not only is the packaging gorgeous, their pop-up store in NYC(above) is particularly ‘grammable – the perfect place for visitors to grab a colourful can of ‘cool, calm, collected’ goodness. Interestingly, Recess is using this pop-up as an event space too, hosting singles nights, art and music afternoons, mindfulness workshops and even a tarot card reading night in order to create a brand personality that resonates with their core demographic of millennials.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Sweet relief

Got a sweet tooth? You’ll be pleased to know you can now sink your teeth into these CBD-infused jelly beans. They’re the brainchild of David Klein, famous for creating the delicious (and sometimes not so delicious!) Jelly Belly jelly beans before selling the brand way back in 1976.

In total, there are 83 flavours (38 traditional, 38 sour, and 10 sugar free), and each jelly bean contains 10mg of CBD. Yum.

Into the weeds

Planet 13

Perhaps not surprising, the world’s largest cannabis dispensary is in the grand ol’ USA, in Las Vegas to be precise. Planet 13 is absolutely huge at 40,000-square-feet, and is fitted out like a blend between an Apple store, a (tacky) jewellery store and a spaceship. Since it only opened in November last year, it’s too early to know whether it’s already turning a profit, but its build cost a whopping USD$7.5 million!

Image via


With 15 stores from across California, Nevada and New York, MedMen is taking the States by storm. Each store is unique, however all are clean, minimalistic and upmarket. Nothing like your traditional ‘stoner’ culture shop. In fact, MedMen has been running a huge above the line campaign for about a year now, aimed at shifting perceptions and encouraging Americans to ‘Forget Stoner’.

Diego Pellicer

Set foot in Diego Pellicer in Seattle and you could easily be forgiven for thinking you were in a fancy hotel. Billed as ‘the world’s most luxurious pot shop’ Diego Pellicer stocks everything a cannabis connoisseur could ever dream of, from pre-rolled spliffs to edibles to vaporisers and even body lotions.

Oh, Canada

Since medicinal cannabis has long been legal in Canada, (and many stores were openly flouting the law and selling to any adult regardless of whether or not they had a prescription), the cannabis market in Canada is significantly more mature. As a result, some retail stores seem a bit outdated compared to those in the US. There are, however, notable exceptions.


Light, bright and inviting, Fire&Flower has 13 locations open already across Canada, with another 4 opening soon. Staff are, according the company, all highly knowledgeable ‘cannistas’, who can help customers find the perfect product for them. Aimed at a cashed-up clientele, and with retail stores in premium CBD locations like Toronto’s ritzy Bloor Street, there’s not a Bob Marley poster in sight.

Image via

City Cannabis Co

Looking like a cross between a trendy café and an Aesop store, City Cannabis Co has two stylish locations in Vancouver, with plans to open more across the country in the coming years. Customers can individually buy up to 30 grams of high quality bud, as well as a wide range of other cannabidiol-based products. 

There’s no denying there’s an enormous market for cannabis and CBD products around the globe. As legal cannabis and CBD spreads around the world, and marijuana stocks are going gangbusters, it’s no wonder established players in competing industries like tobacco and alcohol are jumping on the budding bandwagon.


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