I have no idea where to go to buy weed. I want an experience similar to buying cosmetics at Nordstrom. Is this experience anywhere to be found?
Dear Stoner Chic,
A topic near and dear to our hearts: shopping. Sure marijuana packaging has come a long way from the days of Ziploc baggies, but as of yet the market for truly atmosphere-driven, aesthetically on-point weed boutiques is woefully under-saturated. It can only be a matter of time, but until the day comes when there’s a Barneys-like ganja spot on every city’s Fifth Avenue, you’ll probably need to do a little legwork. Like searching for the right therapist or figuring out which coffee spot by your new office makes the best almond milk foam, you may have to kiss a few frogs.
Start by window shopping—or, maybe think of it as a drive-by, whether digital or real-world. Start with what’s most geographically or otherwise convenient and work out from there. Filter out the goofiest names (Fweedom Collective, really?) and the scrappiest set-ups, and remember that companies put resources into branding for a reason. The graphics, the logo, the signage: they’re telling you who they are. Listen to them.
It won’t take long before you find a place that resonates—say, the retro-mod “We subscribe to Dwell magazine” vibe of Uncle Ike’s in Seattle, Denver’s agreeably minimal Pure mini-franchise, or Perennial Holistic Wellness Center in Los Angeles, which offers a spa-like experience complete with free valet parking. Once inside, I’m an advocate of asking lots of questions and being really upfront about what you’re looking for—and staying open to suggestions. I am here to tell you that this is an industry that values first-hand experience, but pot shops are not staffed by stoners. If anything, your average bud tender (yes, unfortunately, this is how they are commonly known) is almost clinical in his/her knowledge and customer service approach. Of course, that’s a good thing, because it means they take you—and their job—really seriously.
Honestly, if I had my druthers, I’d slap a clean layer of low-key, inauspicious Benjamin Moore—a nice shade of griege maybe?—on my local and install a drive-through window and be done with it. I say leave the ambiance and decor to your favorite cocktail lounge or coffee shop.
How’s this: Identify the spot that has the product you’re looking for and a climate you find pleasing enough, alight on the bud tender who best speaks your language, and resign yourself to weed shopping as an exercise in efficiency not inspiration. And then take yourself to Barneys.