When Foottraffik began rewriting the book on digital marketing for dispensaries, the industry was just starting its explosive growth phase. Everywhere you looked, it seemed, a bumper crop of new dispensaries was angling for a piece of the action, looking to enter what was forecast to be the 21st century’s hottest industry.
In some regards, nothing’s changed. As rumors about the possibility of federal descheduling continue to bubble up, the industry is still enjoying strong growth and record-breaking profits. But we’re noticing a change in inflection: While there’s no shortage of entrepreneurs itching to enter the fray, the consolidation and aggregation many analysts predicted is already taking place. Increasingly, the dispensaries consumers flock to are chains, some of them run by sprawling multi-state operators (MSOs).
If you’re considering entering the retail cannabis world, you need to know the playing field. Who are the cannabis dispensary chains to watch? Allow us to introduce you to the Top 10.
Top 10 Cannabis Dispensary Chains: A Curated List
The world’s largest cannabis company by revenue, Massachusetts-based Curaleaf operates 101 dispensaries in some 23 states. How do they pull it off? Besides the company’s deep pockets, the focus in the dispensaries is on people: Connecting them with products, strains, and delivery methods that best suit their needs and goals. And like most of the dispensary chains we’ve named here, Curaleaf’s branded products—which are packaged more like vitamin supplements than marijuana—are available everywhere cannabis is sold.
A powerhouse in the U.S. dispensary world, this publicly-traded company (OTC:TCNNF) operates over 80 dispensaries nationwide, and currently represents over 50% of the market share in Florida, where the company is based. The brand identity is professional, airy, and welcoming, a safe bet for the medical cannabis patients that are the company’s bread and butter.
The retail arm of publicly traded Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF), this dispensary chain currently operates some 20 locations across 4 states. Compared with some of the other contenders on this list, the focus is less on wowing with high design or propagating the message of cannabis. Instead, the company banks on a customer-centered approach, dispensing careful and authoritative cannabis education over good vibes.
Colorado’s largest dispensary chain wins high marks—er, no pun intended—for its friendly, welcoming vibe and professional approach to the business of selling marijuana. Dispensing with the edgy look and feel of more cutting -edge dispensaries, Green Solution instead wins its fans by embracing old-fashioned customer service and a straightforward approach towards branding and marketing. Does a family-owned chain of cannabis dispensaries point towards the future of the industry? Only time will tell, but thus far, the brand is, as they say, riding high.
Based in California but operating (or about to open) some 35+ dispensaries nationwide, this leading dispensary chain is sometimes described as “the Apple of dispensaries.” Whether or not that’s accurate, the company has the distinction of actually besting Apple in sales per square foot, at least in some of its more established locations. With bold, clever design and an aggressive growth strategy, this is one cannabis dispensary chain to keep an eye on.
Formerly known as Westleaf, this Alberta-based, publicly-traded conglomerate (TSX-V: WL) (OTCQB:WSLFF) is an undisputed leader in the Canadian cannabis market. Calibrated to highlight the relationship between cannabis and music, Decibel’s flagship “Prairie Records” retail chain is purpose-built to look and feel like a record store, with consumers picking products for specific desired outcomes. Trading on retro, analog cool, it’s the very opposite of the quick-growth model embraced by some leading operators.
Owned by parent company Acreage Holdings, The Botanist skews towards the decidedly upscale, socially conscious and urban consumer. With custom woodwork and—you guessed it—botanical features, these retail outlets take their cues from the world of luxury cosmetics, offering a “retail experience” like no other. But the brand’s owner, Acreage (CSE: ACRG.U) (OTCQX: ACRGF), is anything but exclusive. As of this writing, Acreage is the largest vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets in the United States.
One of several retail chains operated by Green Thumb Industries (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF), RISE is dedicated to rapid growth. With some 54 dispensaries coast to coast, it’s rapidly becoming one of the most recognizable cannabis retailers in the nation. And by sticking with a utilitarian but welcoming design sense, the hope is that this sprawling dispensary chain will set the standard for how cannabis is purchased on the retail level.
With some 14 dispensaries spread across 4 states, Green Goods is rising quickly in the cannabis dispensary chain world. The chain is itself an offshoot of Vireo Health (VREOF) , a physician-led company dedicated to bringing cannabis-based care to the masses. But whereas Vireo Health trades on its strong background in medical R & D and innovative delivery systems, Green Goods has a warm, casual and friendly vibe that’s winning it fans from coast to coast.
Operating some 20 dispensaries throughout Colorado, Native Roots is often described as the state’s best-designed and most visually appealing cannabis dispensary chain. You won’t find any fluorescent lights or grotty backrooms here. Instead, the vibe is all polished cement floors, industrial-style ironwork, and chic wallpaper with botanical designs. It’s an inspiring example of how great design (and a focus on social responsibility) make for a winning business model.