Note: A source was removed from this article due to fear of professional retaliation.
New Standard, a modern start-up dispensary, opened its doors in Ann Arbor early this month on North Main Street. With eight locations in Michigan and two more expected to open in the near future, the dispensary is expanding rapidly.
Howard Luckoff, founder and CEO of New Standard, said the business strives to provide customers with a user-friendly experience in its stores.The Ann Arbor dispensary is located in a two-floor, 100-year-old house.
“What I want to put in the stores is a good culture and a good experience for the consumer because if you don’t know cannabis, it’s overwhelming,” Luckoff said. “If you know a lot about cannabis or you know nothing about cannabis, you can come into our stores, and we’re there to educate you. We’re not there to sell.”
Since the legalization of cannabis in Michigan in 2018, Ann Arbor has become a hub for dispensaries and cannabis-centered businesses in the state. New Standard is the eighth dispensary to open in the city in recent years.
Coleman LaBarr, general manager at New Standard’s Ann Arbor location, said one of the dispensary’s main focuses is to educate people about cannabis culture and the industry.
“We are trying to set the ‘new standard,’ we’re not trying to push products on people,” LaBarr said. “We want to really find those products that people are looking for and help make that connection with people and guide them in the right direction.”
To help educate customers, there are ‘budtenders,’ or product specialists in the store who guide people during their shopping experience.
“We even like to offer (that) people come in and just not buy anything, just spend time with our budtenders and learn things about the industry or learn things about the products that they’re buying,” LaBarr said.
New Standard is a vertically integrated cannabis company, meaning that they produce, grow, and cultivate their own products. With many cultivation and commercial facilities, Luckoff said it is important for the business to create a collaborative work culture.
“We don’t have any employees in this company — We have team members, everybody’s a member of our team,” Luckoff said. “Nobody has any more important job than anybody, nobody works for anybody, we all work together.”
LSA junior Mutaz Faqqouseh said he uses medical marijuana for ulcerative colitis and ever since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan, prices have increased. Although he hopes dispensaries in Michigan will lower their prices as a result of increased market competition, he said New Standard’s prices correlate with the quality of their products.
“I want to be able to get as quality of a product as I can for as little as possible, and that’s kind of difficult to do sometimes,” Faqqouseh said.
In the future, New Standard plans to throw a welcoming block-party-style celebration in their parking lot to promote their products and connect with the local community.
“We want to make it a nice big welcoming party for us,” LaBarr said. “We want to really greet people and show them that we’re here to make them feel welcome.”
Daily Staff Reporter Liz Hwang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.