The typical Los Angeles pot shop experience includes being buzzed past heavy security gates and being watched closely by surly security guards. Interiors are often small, malodorous and impersonal. Cash transactions are quick and uncomfortable. It's an improvement from the back-alley black market, barely. West Hollywood's MedMen, which opened last year, found the right time and place for a better way. Daniel Yi, director of communications at the dispensary, says most other shops follow a "deli model," where customers ask a budtender to weigh out an amount, pay and leave in short order. The 2,100-square-foot MedMen collective in West Hollywood was set up like the Apple Store. Patients can browse strains and prices on iPads. Special sanitary containers hold samples of bud if connoisseurs want a whiff. "We want you to come in and browse and learn," Yi says. The airy, wood-lined store — there's no security gate or buzzing in — sells more than 1,000 products, mostly different strains of cannabis that have been lab-tested for pesticides and contaminants. "This is where marijuana retailing is headed in the future," Yi says. But anyone planning to bite MedMen's style should know that it recently opened a location in Santa Ana and is working on a new store in Venice. It's an expanding brand. And, with legal recreational marijuana sales scheduled to start next year, MedMen West Hollywood hopes to open its already welcoming doors to everyone older than 21.
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