After recreational cannabis use became legal across Canada in October 2018, dispensaries started popping up all around town. With most stores selling relatively similar products, local dispensaries had to find ways to stand out amongst larger corporate stores. They did so by turning cannabis shopping into an experience for consumers.

Ashley Newman, founder of Queen of Bud –– which has both retail stores and a line of cannabis products –– got into the industry after CBD became one of the only things to help her from the pain she suffered due to endometriosis. She opened her first retail store in Calgary in October of 2018, drawing inspiration from crystals and their meaning for the store’s design, she has since opened a second location in Toronto. The atmosphere she created in her stores is one of luxury shopping, with the addition of velvet couches, chandeliers and flower walls. Regardless of the luxury elements, Newman says she has made inclusivity, acceptance and community a core pillar of her business.

Queen of Bud

John Holt, co-owner of Superblend Cannabis, has two stores in the city, Superblend Grain Exchange and Superblend Stop-N-Glow. Holt is preparing to open his third store, which will draw design inspiration from an old alchemist shop. Taking a design lead at his locations, Holt has transformed the cannabis shopping experience by renovating each store in a unique way. With interactive elements like a piano, seating and an old-school cigarette machine, Holt aims to turn the Superblend locations into places for people to come and feel belonged. He says his goal in doing so is to bring a smile to customers’ faces.

Superblend: Stop-N-Glow

Superblend: Grain Exchange

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