Maybe you’ve heard about MedMen, the design-forward marijuana dispensary chain that Page Six described as “the Barneys of weed.” And then there’s the Plug, a premium dispensary in downtown Los Angeles that LA Weekly called “the Barneys of weed.”
Well, there’s a new Barneys of weed, and this one has a familiar name: Barneys.
In a move to court chillaxed influencers (and their Instagram feeds), the luxury department store chain is taking an unlikely, or perhaps inevitable, detour into cannabis, with its own head shop called the High End.
This store-within-a-store is scheduled to open at the Barneys store in Beverly Hills in March, with other locations in California to follow. The company may also open the head shop in other states, including New York if recreational cannabis becomes legal there.
The High End will offer all manner of luxe smoker’s paraphernalia: Devambez rolling papers made from organically grown French hemp; handblown water pipes by Siemon and Salazar, a glassware studio in California; stash boxes by the jewelry designer Martine Ali; and joint holders (otherwise known as roach clips) by Good Art Hlywd. Prices will tend toward the premium. A sterling silver pot grinder, for example, will sell for $1,475.
Cannabis products will also be available. Beboe, a cannabis purveyor whose artful packaging and celebrity clientele have led some to call it the “Hermes of marijuana,” is a partner in the venture, and will sell an exclusive silver version of its rose gold vape pens, along with its low-dosage pastilles.
Traditionalists who prefer to smoke marijuana can choose pre-rolled marijuana buds from a Beboe collaboration with Sherbinskis, a fashionable cannabis brand from California founded by Mario Sherbinski, an influential Bay Area cultivator with a strong hip-hop following. (Because the High End will not have a dispensary license, Beboe representatives will take customers’ orders for delivery.)
Not long ago, it would have seemed unthinkable for a venerable department store to enter the drug business. But Daniella Vitale, the chief executive and president of Barneys, said the time seemed ripe, not only because of changing attitudes about marijuana, but because of the pressures on bricks-and-mortar retailers to offer Instagram-friendly moments.
“If someone is going to come into a physical store, they really expect more than product, because product, unfortunately, is available in a million different places,” Ms. Vitale said. “We want to make sure there is an entertainment value here.”
“Social media happens in an environment, it happens in a restaurant, in a fitting room,” Ms. Vitale added. “It’s not happening by watching someone at their desktop shopping online. We need to make sure we’re creating a backdrop for that.”
As such, the look of the store will be more Malibu home than gritty Venice Beach dispensary, with plenty of glass, patinated brass and raw marble. “It’s a very Paul Rudolph vibe,” said Matthew Mazzucca, the creative director of Barneys, referring to the midcentury architect.
“It’s made for people like me: high-functioning adults who maybe use cannabis once or twice a week,” said Scott Campbell, the celebrity tattoo artist, who is one of the founders of Beboe. “I’ve got kids to raise, careers to maintain, and when I do have time to enjoy weed, I don’t care how much it costs. I just want the best possible experience.”
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