Ahead of Karezza’s exclusive showcase at 99 High Tide Collective on July 20, we talked to the dispensary’s general manager about the changing landscape of cannabis, and about its deep, authentic roots in California.
Why did you get into the cannabis industry?
I got into the cannabis industry, because I was really impressed with the two dispensaries in Venice Beach where I was a patient at the time: 99 High Art Collective and the Green Goddess Collective.
I happened to be good friends with the owners, and got involved by attending their community events, as well as music and arts festivals they were involved with. I learned that there was a beautiful group of creatives making the magic happen, and a lot of empowered women as leads, which I appreciated seeing in a male-dominated field.
I wanted to learn about the cannabis industry and spend more time with these folks, so I started working part time in the collectives! I was in graduate school at the time, so it supplemented my studies and helped me get through the program I was in for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
How have you seen the industry evolve?
I have seen the industry evolve tremendously. It’s been amazing to see the industry come out of the shadows from a time when there was a lot of uncertainty.
Most people in the industry wanted to stay anonymous and were not confident that the local police would understand Prop 215, or the details that would make their businesses legal. Many suffered through the hardships of navigating that gray area, and having to prove their legitimacy. There were very little brand names, especially for flower and concentrates, because people couldn’t trust that they could be totally transparent about their work — even if they were doing it legally.
Now, in 2018 with Prop 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) in place, we are seeing our California cannabis lifestyle reflected in all the brands coming out, so you just aren’t looking for the strain name, but also a brand that suits your style and needs as well.
What makes California a unique market for cannabis? What makes Malibu unique within California?
California is a unique market, because of how many people we have in our state and the amount of consumers that brings us. It’s many more than other legal states, so this will reflect differently in our industry. It’s exciting and intriguing!
California also has a deep history of cannabis culture that is far from just starting now. My parents lived it in the 70s in the San Francisco hippie movement. Heritage growers have been around for generations in communities such as Mendocino, Humboldt, and Santa Cruz developing unique genetics to pass down.
The music, surf, and sports culture in California have all represented a special piece of culture that is the California lifestyle, and have all involved cannabis. Even though this industry is just beginning on a legal state level, it has authentic roots that are undeniable.
Malibu has its own unique climate, being a beach city with countless beaches that draw in millions each year. The surf and adventure sports culture is strong here, which is why we say our best sellers are sativa-based products, because people here are active! Malibu is also home to many celebrities and Hollywood elite, and is a favorite investment area for tech entrepreneurs creating business opportunities and relationships that are very valuable.
99 High Tide has been named one of the best dispensaries in California. Why do you think it stands out so much?
Our focus and motivation has been to create the best cannabis experience for our patients, and to end any negative stigma around what it feels like to be in a dispensary. Our founder was motivated to do this when she was searching for a shop for her mother with cancer to get cannabis oil, and was humiliated with their experiences.
There’s no reason why a cannabis store shouldn’t be professional, beautiful, high-end, and classy. At 99 High Tide, we make business decisions from a place of integrity, instead of looking at the cheapest or easiest route.
Our staff are trained, educated, and experienced professionals. Our focus is customer service and education. We take pride in our relationships with our patients and community. We go to great lengths to create a beautiful, engaging, and peaceful place to visit. We are a small group of people who are great friends, and are grateful for our work. We are recognized for our authenticity, and that is something that goes a long way.