What is a ‘Cannabis Boutique’?
In places where cannabis is legal for recreational use, you typically just go into the dispensary, point out what you want, pay for it and leave. For medical use, things might be a bit more complicated, usually dependent on a doctor’s prescription. But a cannabis boutique gives you more of an experience, rather than a straight-to-the point transaction.
Imagine having other things to do in your local dispensary, besides purchasing weed. Imagine having educational sessions, lounge sections where you can socialize with other cannabis lovers, even a quasi bar or something. A cannabis boutique goes above and beyond the over-the-counter transaction, giving you a service experience that sells just as much as the cannabis products available.
Other ways a ‘Cannabis Boutique’ differs from an Australian Cannabis dispensary
Despite being legal for medical use, a lot of red tape surrounds the purchase process in Australia. You can’t just obtain a prescription by complaining to your doctor about an ailment. Your doctor has to be authorized to prescribe by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), or has to go through the Special Access Scheme. Whatever the case, purchasing cannabis for medical use isn’t as straightforward as other countries.
In countries where dispensaries are widespread for medical use, all that’s needed is a prescription from your doctor. If cannabis is legal for recreational use as well, then a prescription isn’t needed. Such countries can go beyond that with a boutique setup that caters to the experience, and not just the sale.
In Australia today, it’ll take some time before either boutiques or straightforward dispensaries become widespread. Again, remember how boggled down the medical marijuana process is here. However, with the ACT legalizing cannabis for recreational use, perhaps we might see a cannabis boutique sooner rather than later.
What special facilities does a Cannabis Boutique have?
Think “unique” when you think of a cannabis boutique. Something out of the ordinary - something beyond the good old smoke shop. A cannabis boutique provides a number of special facilities not found in a typical dispensary, all to sell an experience.
Here are a few things you might find in a cannabis boutique:
- Exotic cannabis strains
- Non-alcoholic, plant-based bars
- Cannabis-related foods
- Cannabis education center, and more
A great example of a cannabis boutique is being planned in neighbouring New Zealand. There, in Christchurch, Michael Mayell and Abe Gray plan to open a cannabis museum called Whakamana. The boutique plans to feature a range of services like a hemp food eatery and emporium, a cannabis dispensary, a plant-medicine shot bar and so on.
What's next for this sort of Cannabis shop?
Australia might not be too far from a cannabis boutique coming to town. Yes, cannabis remains illegal for recreational use right now, but even a medical cannabis dispensary can be set up in a way that provides a boutique experience.
Earlier this year, Gary Mackenzie opened the Releaf Clinic, the first cannabis dispensary in Melbourne. The services seem to lean towards a boutique feel as opposed to a straightforward buy-and-go shop.
Beyond the dispensary, the Releaf Clinic also houses doctors who are already specialized in prescribing medical cannabis, and they also provide complementary medicine services and hemp-based shop. Oh, and they also sell organic honey. Mr. Mackenzie himself describes it as more than just a medical cannabis dispensary, and more of an overall wellness shop.
Gary Mackenzie inside the Releaf Clinic in Melbourne. src
With the ACT legalizing recreational cannabis, seeing a recreational version of the Releaf Clinic popping up relatively soon is inevitable - one that’s clearly a cannabis boutique in all aspects.
Cannabis boutiques aim to create an experience that goes beyond the straightforward sale of cannabis over a counter. Perhaps the idea isn’t so new after all, considering lounges, clubs, and sports bars create an experience that goes beyond selling alcohol.
With a cannabis boutique, expect more - for instance, plant-based eateries, plant-based drinks, lounge areas, education centers, and more. And with the ACT legalizing cannabis, a cannabis boutique might be in the works in Australia sooner rather than later.