MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 36

The Fresno Arts Council helps fill
gallery walls that frame the store's
retail area. Photo courtesy The Artist Tree
Desert
By Omar Sacirbey
eing one of a
small number
of stores in a
cannabis desert
might seem like an easy proposition:
Open your doors and let customers roll
in, unencumbered by competition.
But as Lauren Fontein, founder and
president of The Artist Tree marijuana
chain in California, learned when she
opened a store in Fresno (population
34 May-June 2023 | MJBizMagazine
Art-focused retailer sprouts
in a central California
cannabis desert
Bloom
500,000), being a cannabis oasis comes
with its own challenges. These include
a community inexperienced with
cannabis, staffing issues and more.
" It really is a cannabis desert, "
Fontein said of California's Central
Valley, a more conservative,
agricultural area of the state. " People
really didn't have that experience
of being able to shop in a licensed
dispensary. "
While California launched an adultuse
marijuana market in 2018, Fresno
didn't award its first licenses until fall
2021, Fontein recalled, long after most
other big cities in in the state. Before
that, there were no cannabis stores in
Fresno or the surrounding areas. The
only legal options for consumers to access
marijuana retail included using delivery
services or driving to Merced, which is
about an hour away, Fontein said.

MJBizMag May-June 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag May-June 2023

MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 1
MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 2
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