Sweet Flower cannabis

Cannabis Chain Sweet Flower Rides the Green Rush

Cannabis chain store Sweet Flower saw customer consumption double during the anxiety-inducing pandemic and it's riding the green rush with plans to expand across the state.

The dispensary and delivery service just closed a $15 million Series A round led by AFI Capital Partners as it prepares to launch its flagship store in Culver City, on 1000 Culver Boulevard, in early summer and build out its footprint.

The three-year-old retailer will use its downtown L.A. location, which is licensed for manufacturing, cultivation and distribution, to expand Sweet Flower's products.

Because of stay-at-home orders and a shift toward ecommerce, cannabis has also seen a move toward delivery and edibles, said Sweet Flower chief executive Tim Dodd. Sweet Flower doubled its revenue in 2020, but Dodd doesn't see in-person shopping stopping entirely.

"With COVID hopefully easing, we are delighted to see more customers in-store and enjoying our in-store experience and, as we more fully emerge from COVID, our upcoming series of COVID-sensitive, well-curated events and collabs in-store," said Dodd in an email.

Sweet Flower currently has four other locations in Westwood, Studio City, the DTLA Arts District and on Melrose Avenue. The upstart was also scheduled to open a location in Pasadena, however the city denied its application. The company then sued the city, joining several other competitors suing Pasadena, according to the Pasadena Star News.

California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, and in 2016, legalized it for recreational use. Other states are following suit.

Recently, New York lawmakers put together a bill to create a licensing and taxation system for selling recreational marijuana. The bill is slated to be voted on Wednesday, to allocate budget for it by April 1.

"We remain focused on California, our home — for now — given the state's early, vibrant and complex market adoption, there is still a lot of running room here," said Dodd. "We love NY and believe Sweet Flower — as the future retail state of cannabis — would be a great brand fit for this market."

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Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.