From the intersection of luxury and sophistication with the nascent cannabis industry and its related experiences.


Sophisticated cannabis products and experiences

The Cannaluxe theme emerges from intersection of luxury and sophistication with the nascent cannabis industry and its related experiences. Many brands and retail stores are creating models inspired by innovative high-end technology brands, upscale lifestyle stores and deluxe boutiques. This has been evident throughout a range of trends that include avant-garde cannabis, the high-touch cannabis, cannabis haute couture, and high lifestyle products.

Engaging and consistent superior retail experiences

The paradigm of negative dingy head-shop experiences with tinted windows with jacked security guards out front is outdated[1]. Today, cannabis stores todays are sleek, spacious, well lit, and up scale. Companies are investing in beautiful branding, packaging and futuristic lifestyle designs to appeal to a wider audiences and drive sales. They’re hiring established design companies and consultancies to inform their digital and in-store experiences, and to find novel ways to erase the stigma and intimidation of buying and consuming cannabis.

Serra Retail Store

Tokyo Smoke 668 Queen St W, Toronto.

Deluxe lifestyle stores and boutiques

Some cannabis brands are creating premium retail experiences that are consistently engaging and inviting to the general public. They are leveraging the psychology of lighting and space design to create high-end ambient interiors and experiences, and incorporating sensuous and curvilinear shapes to create positive emotional reactions[2].


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Drivers of Change

Erasing negative cannabis connotations

With cannabis now legal, entrepreneurs are moving quickly to erase the baggage, stigma and negative connotations cannabis has through approachable, innovative products and elegant aesthetics[3]. Players are learning that they can relying on aesthetics to influence how cannabis is perceived outwards by non-users. The new affluent Cannabis consumer is a luxury fashion and lifestyle consumer.

Legalization enabling scientific research & innovations

Legal cannabis is positioned to unlock a new tsunami of scientific discovery, research, technology and innovation. As a result, the cannabis landscape is becoming increasingly complex to navigate, and can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Whether novice or connoisseurs, cannabis brands can win by helping customers find their way articles, resources, and education[4].

Appealing to unconventional customer segments

Companies aim to take marijuana mainstream by getting rid of the stoner culture and transforming it into one that everyone can relate to. Brands are looking past traditional market segments such as your typical pothead, and instead embracing post-demographic consumerism[D1] by appealing to the chardonnay moms, the stiletto stoners, the nine-to-five dads, older generations, and design connoisseurs[5].

Human Considerations

Empowerment through knowledge

People often seek a sense of empowerment through acquiring information, and feel good being in the know[6]. Through detailed, relevant, and transparent product descriptions, infolust[D2] customers are fed with the needed knowledge about products, dosage, effects, etc. that would enable them to comfortably and confidently make an informed decision.

Yearning for storytelling

People have a deep yearning for good stories[7] [8]. Customers want to know about the brand’s story, why they exist, and why they are different - and they want to be told that story in a compelling way. Not only do customers want to know a brands story, they also have a deep need to craft their own personal status story[D3] through engaging with brands that enable them to become part of a community and cultivate enjoyable memories.

Standing out via prestige

People are drawn towards highly aesthetic options that provides them with the opportunity to stand out as individuals[9] [10]. Companies are appealing to these desires by transforming cannabis from a mass market product into an exclusive, premium, and luxury product. These masstige[D4] products are created by companies through crafting novel experiences, compelling stories, artisanal aesthetic, and extravagant service around their product offerings.

Defonce cannabis infused chocolate

Instagram post by @marta featuring Défoncé

  1. D1. POST-DEMOGRAPHIC CONSUMERISM | People – of all ages and in all markets – are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more. Back ↑
  2. D2. INFOLUST | Experienced consumers are lusting after detailed information on where to get the best of the best, the cheapest of the cheapest, the first of the first, the healthiest of the healthiest, the coolest of the coolest, or on how to become the smartest of the smartest. Instant information gratification is upon us. So forget information overload: this desire for relevant information is insatiable, and will soon move from the online world to the ‘real’ world to achieve true ubiquity. Get ready for a click-and-know, point-and-know, text-and-know, hear-and-know, smell-and-know, touch-and-know and snap-and-know world. Back ↑
  3. D3. STATUS STORIES | As more brands (have to) go niche and therefore tell stories that aren't known to the masses, and as experiences and non-consumption-related expenditures take over from physical (and more visible) status symbols, consumers will increasingly have to tell each other stories to achieve a status dividend from their purchases. Expect a shift from brands telling a story, to brands helping consumers tell status-yielding stories to other consumers. Back ↑
  4. D4. MASSTIGE | mass-market products infused with prestige elements (think smartly packaged USD 20 shampoo sold in supermarkets), catering to emerging middle classes with an appetite for premium, but budgets that do not stretch to true luxury. Back ↑