Pot partnership: Hotelier is teaming up with cannabis candymaker

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Boutique hotel group Standard International and cannabis-infused confection maker Lord Jones have announced a partnership that includes opening a retail shop in the lobby of the Standard Hollywood early next year.

There are also plans to create co-branded THC-derived products and expand to the hotel’s downtown Los Angeles location — and beyond — as regulations permit.

Robert Rosenheck, founder and chief executive of L.A.-based Lord Jones, said the 2-year-old brand’s first retail flagship will take up about 300 square feet facing Sunset Boulevard just to the right of the hotel’s main entrance.

It will be stocked with the company’s full range of THC-derived edibles (gourmet gumdrops, caramels and chews) and topicals (some of which contain THC, others made with hemp-derived CBD), along with what he describes as “a very tightly curated assortment of best-in-class products — including smokable product” by other brands.

There are still some complications to sort out. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, and although California voters legalized adult recreational use a year ago, state and local laws pertaining to sales of THC-containing products are still in the process of being formulated and won’t be in place until next year.

“California has a dual-licensing program,” Rosenheck said, “which means you need to have a local license as a prerequisite for applying for a state license, and you need both to operate.”

He explained that with neither the West Hollywood nor California regulations in place, negotiating the permitting and licensing process required to open the boutique sometime in early 2018 was akin to “sort of building the airplane on the runway.”

The handful of Standard hotels — there are two in New York and one in Miami in addition to the two SoCal locations — have a long history of forging quirky, trail-blazing partnerships.

In 2013, the Standard Hollywood — which is actually located in West Hollywood — became home to the first West Coast bricks-and-mortar outpost for online eyewear purveyor Warby Parker; the next year, SPiN LA, Susan Sarandon’s table-tennis-meets-social-club concept, bowed at the downtown location. The group was also on the forefront of adding Peloton stationary bikes to its gym-equipment lineup.

Standard International’s chief executive and managing partner, Amar Lalvani, sees putting Lord in the lobby in keeping with that tradition.

“We love the idea of connecting with people at the early stages (of their businesses), finding fun, interesting dynamic concepts and (allowing) them to come to life in physical locations at our hotels,” he said.

Even with so many regulatory hurdles left to clear — and an opening date at least 45 days in the future (if not more) — Lord Jones and Standard International had a strategic reason to make the partnership public now.

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Source: 420 Intel – United States

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