Interior design continues to raise the bar for the modern cannabis retail experience. A chic new look for one of the oldest cannabis collectives on the West Coast, the Green Goddess Collective, exemplifies this new era of dispensary design.
Founded in 2006, Green Goddess is located in the heart of Venice. The eclectic cannabis industry retail storefront is now reborn after undergoing a fresh, design-forward architectural makeover. To put this new design to good use, the dispensary celebrated its grand re-opening on April 20, 2021. The Green Goddess is among the longest established cannabis collectives in California, founded only behind The San Francisco Buyer’s Club in San Francisco, CAC, and CAPGC in Los Angeles.
“As the oldest continually operating legal cannabis retail shop in the country,” says Nathan Holtz-Poole, co-founder of the Green Goddess. “We really wanted to keep to our history and not produce another sleek cannabis retailer boutique that loses its sense of history and also the fact that it is selling cannabis. We feel like our remodel encompasses everything about our past, our location in the world, and also the fact that we are one of the oldest and most knowledgeable commercial cannabis retailers on the planet, and we believe this shines through our new design.”
Green Goddess originally started its collective in Highland Park. The dispensary moved its operation West to Venice in 2009 and has been in its current building on Main Street and Venice Way since 2012.
More than providing Venice with cannabis, the Green Goddess also uplifts the local comedy scene. It sponsors the charming Laugh On Grass comedy show, an outdoor comedy night in town hosted by comic Rachel Cuthbert. It most recent show boasted appearances by Neal Brennan and even a surprise guest pop-in from Craig Robinson. Cuthbert threw joints from Green Goddess into the audience, all pleasantly high on the titular “grass” for the entire show. The cannabis-infused beverage Wunder also made an appearance, alongside a bar for those who would prefer to imbibe booze.
I spoke with Holtz-Poole on what the future holds for the industry in California, where the unlicensed legacy growers could enter, and the functions of the redesigned space for the modern cannabis consumer.
In your eyes, what are the most significant changes you’ve seen in the cannabis industry since your founding?
Nathan Holtz-Poole: The commercial cannabis space has changed immensely since statewide regulation in 2018. Products have gotten considerably more advanced, the testing standards have evolved to a place where we believe commercial cannabis in the state of California is the safest agricultural product on the planet. There are also considerably more consumers and products designed for functional wellness. Functional wellness seems to be the driving force of the new commercial cannabis consumer. They’re looking to solve for something such as anxiety or insomnia or some sort of muscular or nerve pain, etc.
We see an increase adoption of cannabis use by women and also a desire to try cannabis in a multitude of different form factors, not just smoking it but consuming it in the form of drinks, confections, baked goods, sublingual pills and strips, syrups, and more.
We see a lot of tourists on a daily basis, especially during our tourist season. This is a unique group of consumers considering they are relatively new to cannabis if not completely new and are very interested in everything and anything cannabis has to offer. We love guiding this segment of consumer into the cannabis space because we feel we are one of the most knowledgeable retailers and really enjoy passing that knowledge on to new adopters.
What are your favorite products on shelves at Green Goddess today, if you had to shout out 3-4 of your personal favorites?
There are so many fine products that we carry at the Green Goddess, we highly curate our menu meaning we choose brands and products that our frontline staff and ourselves feel are best in class in their segment. Within that, we really love the drink product Wunder, the flower brand Source, Bud Bud, and Maven, pre-roll brand Jetter, Doc Greens, Nasha. Concentrates by 710, Cali Hash, 101 Cannabis
Do you think more unlicensed, legacy growers in California should make the attempt to enter the licensed marketplace? What do you think holds legacy unlicensed California brands back from that entrance?
We do wish that more legacy brands and operators, cultivators, would make the move into the new regulated cannabis space. We understand the challenges as much as anybody as it relates to financially succeeding in this highly complicated regulated market. It is a disincentive to most due to the high cost of entry, low margins when operating, regulatory complexities moving forward through the process and operation.
With that said, there were some wonderful legacy brands and products that are no longer on market that we would love to see back in the regulated space, such as a wonderful Thai Stick grown by one of our legacy cultivators, rose petal pre-rolls that were made by a group of single mothers that we just loved.
What does the future hold for Green Goddess in this new space? Can we tease readers with potential future events?
We are so excited for our new space and believe this is the beginning of a new chapter in our long history. We plan on doing considerably more outreach to our local community, provide a much better customer experience in the form of just retail shopping as well as multiple touch points in education from our bartenders directly to our in-store technology that allows people to search and research new products and elements within the cannabis toolbox.
We wish to highly promote active cannabis use such as cannabis within yoga practice, rigorous sport, etc.. via a set of curated experiences where we recommend specific products for specific activities. We will be talking about more of this within our monthly blog and also with in the quarterly magazine called Muse which is distributed in our local market as a free educational and entertainment resource.