Gone are the days of marijuana shops looking dingy and dark, with neon posters and bad lighting; the faint smell of incense burning in a room behind the counter. One woman has made it her life goal to change the perception of marijuana users, by creating a unique and modern environment for products to be sold in.

Megan Stone, owner of The High Road Design Studio, says her mission is to elevate the cannabis industry through professional retail design. After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the University of Minnesota, and an Associates of Arts in Interior Design, Stone saw an opportunity to help the cannabis community, by working to end the stereotypes associated with dispensaries and the marijuana industry.

Classing Up the Business

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While in college, Stone worked at a dispensary, receiving a firsthand view of what customers were missing. A modern, sophisticated shopping experience was something that had never been brought to the dispensary market. With the permission of her boss, Stone began making minor changes around the shop. Fresh paint, new flooring and changing the layout lead to an instant boost in sales.

As the cannabis business continues to grow rapidly, the demand for high-end shops is becoming more and more prevalent. Stone saw an opportunity to expand her vision. She began working with other dispensaries and adult-use stores, designing professional and classy atmospheres.

Stone isn’t only concerned about the customers’ experience. As a former dispensary employee, she has a unique understanding of how the ganja is handled and processed in stores. One priority, when designing a new space, is to ensure workers can be comfortable and function properly.

Inspired Designs

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Constructed to draw in customers and also provide a relaxing atmosphere, The High Road Design Studio has created inspiration boards to fit every market. Everything from a natural, earthy concept, to Mediterranean-inspired, shops have been pre-designed and laid out.

Stone says, “I personally like clean, modern designs that incorporate contrast, textures, and natural materials. But I try to fulfill my clients’ visions and also create spaces and experiences that are unprecedented, just like the cannabis industry.”

Lighting is also an important feature in every design. It needs to be warm and comforting, but also bright and professionally placed to highlight the herbs.

Breaking the Stereotype

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The most important attribute Stone wants her designs to have is that of a professional atmosphere. The stereotypes associated with using marijuana, for medical or recreational use, are things Stone believes can be lessened by legitimizing the markets and shops where the products are sold.

“There is still a hippy-stoner stereotype going on in the USA, but I think that is slowly changing as marijuana becomes more mainstream and accepted. Some of the common aesthetic stereotypes that come to mind when the average person thinks of a dispensary: Bob Marley posters, black light imagery, pot leaves, dirty mason jars, cheap glass display cases, head shops, and stoned employees. I am doing everything I can to break these stereotypes.”

By creating a professional, clean, classy atmosphere, Stone is able to elevate the perception of the dispensary market, making it easier and more acceptable for customers to enjoy their experience.

What do you look for in a dispensary? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.