When she first arrived in California from Minnesota 10 years ago and began buying medical cannabis to help relieve her anxiety, depression and digestive issues, Megan Stone could not help but notice that visiting dispensaries was “not a positive experience.”

“They were rolling joints when they checked your ID at the counter. Everybody had dreads and everything,” she says of a shop in Lake Forest that she visited in 2008 or so. “It was nasty. But that was where you went,” she says with a shrug.

Stone eventually took a job as a budtender at another dispensary, OCPC, while attending design school. During her time at OCPC, the owner asked her to freshen up the retail space. The budget was small — only about $5,000 — but Stone, who today owns High Road Design Studios, one of the premier cannabis retail design firms in the country, did what she could. She swapped out the commercial-grade carpeting for flooring, painted the walls a rich brown color and bought some new merchandise cases. It wasn’t much, but it made a difference […more]

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