The New Luxury Marijuana Marketplace Targets Big Spenders

By Debra Borchardt, Forbes Contributor

There is a high-end luxury marijuana market that caters to people willing to spend almost $3,000 for a joint and hundreds for luxury subscription boxes.

While many people may think of recreational marijuana smokers as grungy stoners, a new study from Miner and Co. Studio has uncovered an upscale cannabis consumer. These are not lazy, couch melters with low paying jobs. It turns out that 84% of these cannabis consumers are employed full-time and 65% have a household income of $75,000 or more.

This is no secret to companies already targeting the luxury marijuana market. There are two different monthly premium subscription boxes catering to the big spenders. The AuBox is a carefully curated box of either CBD products and/or THC products depending on the state you live in. It was created by Jessica VerSteeg, a former Miss Iowa and Amazing Race competitor. This product is only available in San Francisco.

VerSteeg bills it as the gold standard in luxury marijuana. Using the chemical symbol for gold, Au is emblazoned on a high-end black box stuffed with products that are all beautifully packaged themselves. The AuBoxes can be tailored to men or women and can contain a variety of items such as Dark Heart Alchemy vaporizer blends, THC-infused coffee from Pot-O-Coffee , 24 carat gold rolling papers, edibles like Mellows, THC-infused handcrafted marshmallows and pre-rolled joints or marijuana buds. The men's box, for example, might have condoms, while the ladies box could contain cannabis infused body butter.

A one-month trial is $150, which drops to $135 for three months and $120 for six months. It discounts down to $100 for a one-year subscription. Purchases before Jan. 1 must use bitcoins, but regular currency is accepted in the new year. It's a pretty impressive presentation and sure to please with its attention to detail and quality curation.

Another company called ClubM offers even more expensive boxes. The M1K retails for $1,000 and features cannabis products like LolaLola Cannabis and True Humbolt delivered in a custom apothecary humidor or genuine leather scent-free purse. The box is exclusively available to ClubM members and contains flower, edibles, vapes and cannabis related accessories.

Want to spend more? Then, there's the M2Box for $2,000.

“This isn't just a bigger box,” said Chris Husong, ClubM co-founder. “This is a box with hyper-premium quality product. Frankly, it's product most people can't afford, but ClubM members are clamoring for it.” A typical membership with Club M costs $97 a month and is invitation only. Each month is characterized with a different theme like Feast or Explore. Unlike AuBox, ClubM delivers anywhere in California.

Since both subscription products are delivered to their customers, it saves them time and is convenient. If the high-end client prefers the retail shopping experience, Diego Pellicer is the best option. The stores are modeled after a jewelry store design with granite floors and imported Spanish tile.

The Seattle, Washington store recently sold a $3,600 marijuana cigar. Chief Operating Officer Alex Cantos said, “A lot of work goes into rolling this product to keep it together, so it doesn't fall apart.” The cigar had 28 grams of flower and seven grams of oil and took six weeks to cure. Cantos also said that one of the hottest products in their stores right now is the Gaga edibles.

The brand owner is a private chef to the stars. "They create a wide range and variety of products mostly consisting in concentrates and edibles,” said Canto. Some of their more notorious lines are their edibles consisting of “The Juicy” and “Peanut Butter Cups.” Diego Pellicer also has a cultivation facility in Colorado and has the goal for more retail expansion.

This brings a whole new meaning to the concept of high-end.

Debra Borchardt writes about retail and cannabis. She believes one of the biggest business stories this decade is the legalization of marijuana. She covers this industry from a financial point of view and writes about legislation, regulation and all the business angles that come with this emerging industry. Debra's work in cannabis has been recognized with an AZBEE award for the video “Guess Where People Want To Buy Pot.” You can follow her on Twitter @WallandBroad