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Cannabis Now, a digital and print publisher of cannabis news and culture, opened a flagship Los Angeles store at 4:20 p.m. on May 3, 2019, focusing on CBD for health, wellness, and education for the cannabis curious.  

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second-most-abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. As CBD's therapeutic effects on pain, inflammation, anxiety and a host of other ailments are becoming well-known, dozens of new CBD brands, applications and uses are coming to market each month.

Located in the Beverly Connection shopping center across from the upscale Beverly Center mall, the 2,800 square-foot Cannabis Now boutique does not sell THC products in the street-facing store, which neighbors established retailers Target, Nordstrom Rack, and CVS.

The Cannabis Now store aims to demystify non-intoxicating cannabis and educate customers about the hemp plant. (Photo courtesy of Cannabis Now)

“We chose the location because it's a major center for tourism and shopping, there's tons of parking and it's important for us to be part of the larger retail conversation,” said Cannabis Now CEO Eugenio Garcia. “We are selling legitimate mainstream products that you can buy at the same time you're shopping at any other store.” The busy shopping district also is just two miles from the heart of Beverly Hills' famed Rodeo Drive.

Cannabis Now CEO Eugenio Garcia says CBD is ready to go mainstream and he has opened a boutique in Los Angeles, near Beverly Hills, featuring the cannabinoid. (Photo courtesy of Cannabis Now)

With its emphasis on non-intoxicating cannabinoids, Cannabis Now hopes to harness a share of the growing CBD industry which, according to New York-based investment bank Cowen, is projected to reach $16 billion and include 10% of U.S. adults by 2025. Cannabis Now plans to roll out more stores as part of the company expansion funded with seed financing led by Tress Capital.

With its emphasis on non-intoxicating cannabinoids, Cannabis Now hopes to harness a share of the growing CBD industry...which is projected to reach $16 billion by 2025.

Garcia enlisted retail consultant Louis Terline, who co-founded the cutting-edge clothing brand OAK, which is known for its industrial chic, clean merchandising, and retail design. Terline created an interactive shopping experience for consumers to learn about cannabis lifestyle products in categories including fashion, beauty, home, athletic, pet care, books, and magazines.

“We're hoping to help remove the stigma for consumers who may be intimidated by dispensaries and create a welcoming environment for those who want to explore these products and learn more about them,” Terline said.

Under Terline's art direction, the store has an open floorplan and feels like an indie boutique. With concrete floors and plywood finishes, there's lots of natural light, and touches of pale color, as well as places to sit and spend some time. Products such as bongs, grinders, and vaporizers share space on minimal, industrial steel tables with home goods such as candles and containers in which you can keep your weed.

The interior of the Cannabis Now store in the Beverly Connection shopping center in Los Angeles shows the streamlined and nature-oriented design scheme. (Photo courtesy of Cannabis Now)

“The idea is to tie cannabis into the larger wellness movement by showing its strength as a natural product that helps you feel better and be better,” Terline added.

For example, partner brand True Terpenes permanently installed a terpene wall that enables shoppers to smell the different compounds that create the smell, taste, and effect of cannabis varieties.

“At Cannabis Now we are fans of THC and we love the plant in all of its expression,” Garcia explained. “But we also understand that not everyone wants or needs to have THC in their system to benefit with their interaction with the plant.”

Cannabis Now also sells its own line of vaporizers and full-spectrum hemp oil produced by G Pen. Retail partners including Kushy CBD, Select Oil, CBD-infused, luxury skincare brand Saint Jane, and low-calorie CBD sparkling sodas from Sprig will send brand ambassadors to the store for special events to inform customers about their products, priced from $5 to $400 with a focus in the $50-$100 range.  

Garcia said he pursued the Cannabis Now retail project as an extension of his publishing brand because he learned from readers that they're hungry for education about the products they buy. “We wanted to create a shopping environment that's different than the dispensary model so we formed a new experiential retail division,” he said.

The kernel of inspiration came from his time working at Whole Foods as an assistant store manager where he saw excitement from customers who enjoyed their shopping experiences. Garcia sees the cannabis industry moving in the same wellness direction. “People want to get out of the house and be with like-minded people,” he said.

“Our goal is to be an innovator and create a retail category for hemp and CBD, which is currently underserved,” he said. “The stoner and the aggressive user will always be there but I see a time when they will be the minority. It's the enlightened, affluent user focused on health, wellness, a holistic lifestyle who's interested in the earth and natural products that's the future of the industry. We're here to cater to them.”