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Legal Cannabis Helps Smoke Shops Thrive in Many Markets

Legal Cannabis Helps Smoke Shops Thrive in Many Markets

 

Smoke shops once served as the essential – and as a rule just – the main suppliers of glass pipes, rolling papers and other sorts of cannabis related gear.

The rise of medical and recreational marijuana has changed the competitive landscape, and has made it quite competitive. With numerous dispensaries and retail locations offering a choice of smoking gadgets also.

Tried and true way of thinking says that Smoke shops would take a hit. In all actuality, however, the opposite is true: Loosening cannabis laws the nation over have really been a shelter to headshops in numerous business sectors.

“Since (cannabis) is legal, there’s significantly more shops opening up, many more wholesalers, and a significant amount of new items out there,” said Mike Gonzales, deals organizer for Headquest Magazine, an exchange distribution for the headshop industry, which incorporates stores that oblige both tobacco and cannabis clients. “I just returned from Denver, and I spoke in great detail shop proprietors, and their sales have expanded drastically.”

Legal Cannabis Helps Smoke Shops Thrive in Many Markets

National Growth

Smoke shops incorporating those in states that have sanctioned therapeutic or recreational cannabis – have seen a surge in sales as of lately, and they now speak to a gigantic business sector.

As per a 2013 report from Headquest Magazine, smoke shops create an expected $10 billion in incomes yearly in the United States.

“By far most of smoke shops see increasing competition, increased opportunities and increasing sales,” the report reads. “The pie is getting bigger.”

Gonzales said the ascent in smoke shops the nation over is “unquestionably” attached to the expansion in state-legitimate restorative cannabis sales. In Colorado and Washington, he said, the impact is significantly more purported, on account of the recreational pot industry.

Although head shops sell a variety of items – including shirts, posters and tobacco products – the Headquest report found that the top items smoke shops stock include pipes, grinders and scales, vaporizers and hookahs, which are all popular with the cannabis crowd.

“We go to these trade shows, and there are more new shops opening up. Like tons more,” Gonzales said.

Top of the line Market

Long Trail Glass in Denver mirrors this pattern.

Caitlyn Crelin and Bryan Gee opened the smoke shop in right on time October to tap Colorado’s blasting therapeutic and recreational cannabis industry.

“There is a reason that we arrived here. We came in light of the fact that it’s lawful, to put resources into something new. We wouldn’t have gone anyplace else,” Crelin said.

In this way, its been a win.

Legal Cannabis Helps Smoke Shops Thrive in Many Markets

“Consistently we’re seeing more individuals, and sales are going up,” Gee said.

Crelin and Gee have a particular upper hand: Many cannabis shops, whether recreational or medicinal, don’t have much to browse with regards to hand-blown glass or comparable items that intrigue successive clients. Long Trail, be that as it may, works with around 20 autonomous Denver-territory glass blowers, and additional painters and different specialists whose work they sell in their shop.

“They (cannabis retailers) simply have the nuts and bolts. They have a spoon here, a vape pen there, and a water pipe here, just a small selection,” Gee said. “I likewise hear that they can’t make much profit off of it; they simply purchase it for retail and offer it for retail. So that is the reason they don’t have a great selection.”

Crelin and Gee also run a Vermont shop, the Emporium, that has basically doubled its sales annually for the 15 years it’s been in business. Some of that growth can likely be traced to Vermont’s fledgling medical marijuana industry, though the state’s MMJ program is still small because the laws are strict.

Expanded Acceptance

Smoke shops in different states report comparable development.

“We’ve had triple the amount of business we used to,” said an employee at an entrenched smoke shop in Portland, Maine – a state that is home to eight MMJ dispensaries. “Never a dull second at this point. We continue hiring new individuals.”

It’s the same story for Brothers with Glass, an online retailer based in Portland, Oregon, that specializes in artisan glass pipes.

“It’s kind of like shopping at Wal-Mart for kitchen utensils versus shopping like Crate and Barrel,” said Jason Werrell, co-owner of Brothers with Glass.

“Wal-Mart’s not necessarily going to have the high-quality selection of cooking utensils that you’re looking for, but if you need some, they’ve probably got some that will work. But you can go to Crate and Barrel, and they’ve got huge selections, varying prices, all over the place,” he said.

Werrell’s partner, Jake Wright, said the changes in pot laws the nation over have likewise legitimized smokeshops and gear according to both the law and mainstream culture.

“It’s more acceptable to have glass. There’s significantly less risk… that it can get seized, so you can put somewhat more cash in a greater water funnel,” Wright said.

Amount, Choice

Consumers and patients who seek out head shops typically are cannabis connoisseurs who are willing to spend boatloads of money on unique paraphernalia. Brothers with Glass carries pieces that sell for upwards of $800, while Long Trail stocks some that are priced in the thousands.

Obviously, both outlets likewise offer a lot of consistently pieces that cost significantly less.

The greatest distinction between pot shops and smoke shops is amount and decision, Wright said. Most pot dispensaries and stores offer “service station sort, low-end quality, or less expensive gear” ,” Wright said.

Another reason smoke shops aren’t going anyplace is that most cannabis merchants simply could care less about contending in that market.

“I would be surprised if I heard 7% of my business is accessories. It’s really not a focus,” said Robert, the manager of River Rock South, a medical and recreational shop just blocks from Long Trail in Denver (Robert asked his last name not be used in this story). “The focus is, let’s make sure we’re producing and curing and jarring and selling the right product.”

Salwa Ibrahim, the owner of the MMJ dispensary Blum Oakland in California, echoed that sentiment. Her store carries only vaporizer pens. No glass or wood pipes. But, she said, there are several head shops within walking distance of her dispensary.

“They appear to do incredible,” Ibrahim said.

Chris Woods, the founder of a small chain of recreational stores in Colorado, estimated that paraphernalia accounts for maybe 5% of total sales in his shops.

“The people that are buying paraphernalia at our store, it’s more of a functional purpose. It’s not like at a head shop, where they might spend several hundred dollars,” Woods said. “I don’t think we’re taking their business at all.”

The there is iBAKE.  iBAKE is a private membership smoke shop that actually allows cannabis consumption ON SITE!  Just like most smoke shops, iBAKE does not sell cannabis on any kind.  This is simply a place for adults to bring their own cannabis and legal cannabis products, so they can consume them in a responsible manner.

At iBAKE (there are two locations, iBAKE Denver 6125 Washington St. Denver, CO and iBAKE Englewood 3995 S. Broadway Englewood, CO) you will find most of the same merchandise for sale that you would at most smoke shops, pipes, water pipes, shirts, hats, posters, lighters and tobacco products.  The largest difference is members pay a $10 a month membership fee, plus $2 per day, to use the facilities, smoking devices, etc.  Members also receive a 10% discount on glass items that they purchase from the shop.

Thurlow “TL” Weed  President/CEO of 710 Inc., the corporation that owns iBAKE says “We have carved a solid niche in the market.  We have been the only legal place for locals and tourists to consume cannabis in a social setting here in Denver.  This has allowed us to achieve a growth of over 300% in the last year.  I see more locations in more states as time progresses.”

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