"Costco of Cannabis" May Disrupt California’s Thriving Black Market
Flower Co. built its brand on offering membership discounts on delivery services for ounces of discounted weed, and lower prices could defeat California’s black market.
Published on July 23, 2019

Image via Flower Co. Youtube

When California legalized recreational weed in 2016, proponents pushed reforms by claiming legal pot shops would eventually eliminate the state’s black market for marijuana. So far, the Golden State’s black market has been thriving, namely because the regulated market’s high excise taxes and higher prices (and, some would say, lower quality) can’t compete with unlicensed cannabis. Some illicit weed dealers sling buds at half the average retail price.

One company may change that. But to get the most out of its offerings, customers will need to buy into a membership first.

Flower Co. charges $119 for an annual membership for its services. The company doesn’t have a dispensary or retail outlet; instead, it delivers weed directly to its customers. Members can save up to 40 percent per purchase. As reported by Tech Crunch, an ounce of the Forbidden Fruit strain typically runs for $192 by default, but members can snag some for just $142.

In other words, after just three ounce-sized purchases, the membership fee will have paid for itself.

“We understand that we’re in the first inning of what’s probably a pretty long game, because this industry, as it goes federally legalized, is going to have another massive transition moment just like it’s having right now as it’s getting legalized and regulated in California,” said Ted Lichtenberger, Flower Co.’s CEO, according to Tech Crunch.

“So if we have a great understanding of our customers and stay focused on keeping them delighted, and then be nimble in the face of that change,” he continued, “then we can come out as the dominant player in the delivery market.”

Flower Co. recently raised $2.8 million to expand its delivery wholesale services, which should put the company on competitive footing with other California-based weed delivery outfits like Eaze.

Besides affordable deliveries, Flower Co. is also known for staging private events and concert series for devoted tokers. During this year’s 420 celebration, the company composed a series of mockumentary videos for a “Bong Symphony,” which attempted to create classical music by having an amateur ensemble blow into glass pipes of various sizes.

Peep the video below to see how that panned out.

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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