When Alejandro Canto opened up his luxury cannabis retail store in Seattle earlier this year, one of the products on the shelf was a $3.6K blunt that contained 28 grams of ground high-end marijuana and 7 grams of concentrate wrapped in cannabis leaves.
A gimmick? Hardly. Canto, owner of Diego Pellicer — a swanky 3,300-square-foot retail showcase featuring imported Spanish tile, granite floors and ornate chandeliers — sees the future. And the future for marijuana includes a growing sector of the market hungry for luxury and high-end goods.
“We know the market is shifting toward a more sophisticated consumer,” Canto said. “And we want our customers to have a taste of luxury. From the moment they step inside, customers will know that the quality of our cannabis products and service is beyond anything they’ve previously experienced,” he added.
Canto is not alone in his laser focus on the premium end of the cannabis market. A growing number of cannabis entrepreneurs are hoping to establish a foothold in the luxury sector.
According to a recent study by Miner and Co. Studio, today’s cannabis consumer looks decidedly different than the traditional ‘stoner’ stereotype. According to the study, released last month, 65 percent of cannabis consumer report a household income of more than $75,000 and 84 percent hold down full-time jobs.
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“Understanding this new cannabis consumer isn’t just important for these new and growing cannabis brands that market to them, said Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio. “Almost every major brand will have a portion of their customer base who are cannabis consumers.”
Most cannabis consumers do not regard their use of the product as a key identifier of who they are. The average cannabis consumer is, well, average. The lazy stoner stereotype perpetuated by media depictions is just a myth.
“While TV and movies have unquestionably played a powerful role in driving awareness and acceptance of cannabis as a normal part of our lives and culture, media is still stuck propagating the stoner stereotype such that anyone who consumes cannabis becomes the modern equivalent of Otis, the town drunk in Andy Griffith’s Mayberry – hapless, bumbling and out of it,” Miner said.
“Just as drinking a beer doesn’t mean someone is a drunk or an alcoholic – simply consuming cannabis doesn’t make him or her a zoned out stoner. Media has an opportunity to present the new cannabis consumer in a more positive light to overcome the stoner stereotype that still casts a stigma on the consumers in this vast and growing market,” he added.
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While mainstream media still giggles about Cheech and Chong and jokes about the munchies, the industry will continue to keep its focus on the future. And the future is as bright as this blingy $2,190 Sweet Leaf anklet from Jacquie Aiche.