As stigma falls, retail cannabis stores are shedding their down-market image and breaking out of the sketchy neighborhoods they were once relegated to.
The trend hits a new milestone today with the announcement that The Standard hotel in Hollywood plans to host a retail cannabis store on its ground floor operated by leading brand Lord Jones starting in 2018. Lord Jones is set to open America’s first in-hotel dispensary inside The Standard, Hollywood in 2018 in what they call a “multi-facted brand partnership” — albeit one still subject to approval from local and state officials in California.
“The Standard is proud to be at the forefront of this cultural shift, becoming the first hospitality company to enhance our guests’ experience in this manner,” stated Amar Lalvani, CEO and managing partner of Standard International, in a release. “Cannabis is gaining enhanced relevancy as a key component of wellness, awareness and discovery. The Lord Jones dispensary will provide the finest cannabis products available seamlessly integrated into the Standard experience.”
Robert Rosenheck, founder and CEO of Lord Jones, stated, “As long-time fans of The Standard, we are thrilled to partner with such an iconic, forward-thinking company that truly markets at the speed of culture. The Lord Jones flagship in The Standard, Hollywood will break new ground as we continue our mission to bring the cannabis movement into the mainstream.”
The Standard hotels are widely loved for their chic design, quirky features and A-list clientele. The brand’s five hotels in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and soon London always aim to defy convention with incredible décor and experiences. “The Standard’s irreverent and playful sensibility, combined with a careful consideration of design, detail and service, have established its reputation as a pioneer of hospitality, travel, dining, nightlife, and beyond,” the release states.
Opened in 1999, The Standard, Hollywood was the brand’s debut — a 139-room hotel on the Sunset Strip in an unforgettable lodging experience with shag-carpeted floor-to-ceiling lobby, nightly DJs and video art. It’s sophisticated, stylish vibes pair perfectly with Lord Jones.
Lord Jones was launched in 2015 by former Vogue fashion editor Cindy Capobianco and her husband, Rosenheck, a product developer and brand specialist who has consulted for the likes of General Mills, Sony Music, Paramount Pictures and Planned Parenthood. The high-end marijuana edibles and skin care company gained notoriety for its collaborations with movie stars and the band Sigur Rós, and began as a collective in 2014. Lord Jones serves Academy Award-winning actors, Grammy Award-winning musicians and pro athletes.
Lord Jones and The Standard plan to develop an exclusive line of co-branded THC and hemp-derived CBD products eventually available to guests at all Standard hotels.
The plan will no doubt face headwinds, as adult-use cannabis licensing in still in its infancy in California. A tiny handful of California jurisdictions might allow recreational pot sales when they can begin Jan. 1, 2018. New state rules released Thursday total 278 pages and could preclude certain products, services, or experiences Lord Jones and The Standard might envision.
For example, retail stores will not be able to give out free cannabis samples, like hotels do with mints on pillows. Other rules ban the selling alcohol wherever cannabis is sold. No one under 21 years of age is allowed in retail cannabis stores, aside from medical card holders, who must be 18 or older.
But cannabis’ move upmarket is undeniable. High-end cannabis chocolatier Defonce secured a lease in San Francisco’s posh Westfield mall this year. However, the Westfield’s owners ultimately rejected the tenant. San Francisco cannabis store chain The Apothecarium opened a posh shop in the city’s iconic Marina District, despite the vociferous objection of neighbors.
Denver, Colorado has a large collection of dispensaries on its so-called Green Mile in its downtown shopping district.
The city of West Hollywood where The Standard, Hollywood is located is among the most cannabis-friendly cities in the Los Angeles area. Contrary to Los Angeles’ reputation as the largest cannabis market on Earth — the city and county of Los Angeles, as well as most other cities in the L.A. area have been extremely hostile to cannabis commerce.
While cities like San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, and Santa Cruz are moving to allow adult-use cannabis for sale on New Year’s Day, Los Angeles residents won’t be able to go into a legal store for the foreseeable future.