Legal dispensaries began opening throughout the city of Santa Ana in late 2015. Now, almost three years later, Santa Ana is the only municipality in Orange County that permits cannabis, and there are plans to nurture the burgeoning industry by welcoming more canna-businesses into the city. The most recent business to open is Kannabis Works, one of the last few Measure BB dispensaries. Tucked in an industrial nook on Susan Street, you’d never know a high-end dispensary was located there. If it wasn’t for the arrows and inconspicuous signage leading you to the entrance and parking lot in the back, it’d be easy to miss. But as soon as you walk through the doors, it feels like you’ve walked into a California dream.
The chic wood details, succulents and candles give Kannabis Works a beach cottage feel. In fact, when you think about the “West Coast cannabis lifestyle,” Kannabis Works captures the essence with precision. Although there was a soft opening in February, the Kannabis Works team is throwing a grand opening extravaganza on Saturday, April 14, and they’re inviting everyone to celebrate.
“This is a really big deal for us,” says Tepi Benjamins, a Kannabis Works founder, who’s been working alongside Jason Lilly, Kannabis Works’ CEO, for the past three years. “It hasn’t been easy. In fact, I think most people would’ve given up because the legal cannabis space is not a walk in the park. So, Saturday, April 14, is going to be a major celebration.”
The grand opening is an all-day event. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can expect a vendor village, featuring popular canna-businesses including Bloom Farms, Apothacana, Yummy Karma, Marley Natural, Dosist and Papa and Barkley, to name a few. There will be a muralist from the Love Crew—an LA-based graffiti collective—laying down magic on the 45-foot wall nearest the entrance. You can also expect a stage and a live reggae band creating mellow tunes for the community to groove to.
Renowned DJ skyler Madison will perform a set, taking the daytime kick-back vibes and shifting the party into a classy nighttime soiree. “We are really excited to celebrate all this hard work,” Benjamins says. “We’re so passionate about Kannabis Works, and it’s thrilling to see it now. It’s really been a labor of love and a community effort.”
The event is RSVP only, so if you want to kick start your 4/20 celebration reach out to them ASAP. You can call the dispensary or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get your name on the list.
When you walk into Kannabis Works, though, an all-encompassing warm energy engulfs you. It’s as if you can feel the charm of great customer service and enthusiasm oozing from the building. “We try to match the vibe of our interior with our customer service,” says Benjamins. “We want everyone to have a five-star experience. How we achieve that is by making our employees happy—happy employees make happy customers.”
Another thing Kannabis Works has going for it is the fact it doesn’t feel like a dispensary. It doesn’t have a warehouse feel, there’s nothing sketchy about it and it feels as if you’re shopping at an Anthropology cannabis store. According to Justin, Kannabis Works’ operations manager, the storefront is rooted in advocacy. The mission of the team is to extinguish the stigma and normalize cannabis by providing a hub that represents a classic, mature herbal lifestyle.
“We want Kannabis Works to be something that everyone can be a part of,” Justin says, alluding to the fact that the younger generation is often depicted as the face of cannabis culture. “We want to appeal to people of all ages, which is why we’re working so hard to destigmatize the experience of buying and using cannabis.”
Additionally, the Kannabis Works team sets the bar high in terms of the products offered. Justin explains that they believe it’s important to be strict with what you put into your body, a key factor in determining the products sold there.
In the short time Kannabis Works has been open, it has welcomed an influx of customers from out of town. There’s one person who drives all the way from Hemet because of the unique and quality products the dispensary carries. Justin also tells of a woman who came in wanting to get off of the pharmaceuticals her doctor prescribed her for anxiety. “Having the opportunity to help people improve their lives is why we do this.”
“We really believe that cannabis works,” Benjamins chimes in, “which is why we are called Kannabis Works.”