California rapper Berner's popular Cookies chain of marijuana dispensaries is set to open the doors of its new Detroit location on Friday. The store is located at 6030 E. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit.
It's the rapper's first location outside of his home state of California.
"I, myself and the company, feels that Michigan is probably one of the most important markets in the marijuana business," Berner says. "It's probably one of the most educated markets when it comes to quality ... it's not everywhere. You may go to Florida, and they might not know about the different strains and the different styles of hashes and whatnot. ... I think it's a very important market for the business."
In Michigan, Cookies is operating under an exclusive partnership with Gage Cannabis Co.
"They're just good operators," he says. "They grow good cannabis. I mean, with any partnership that we do, we kind of cherry-pick the best operators and producers."
Berner says the beginning of the partnership with Gage goes back to about four years ago.
"This has been years of vetting these guys out on their quality control of the way they operate and what kind of people they are," he says. "So they fit every aspect of what we're looking for. We decided to partner up with them and they've been executing amazingly, with not just the location but the quality of product and the way we represent our brand as far as customer service and everything to the T."
As far as what customers can expect at Cookies' Detroit store, Berner says he believes the products will speak for themselves.
"I think what separates us from other stores is our menu," he says. "Our menu is proprietary, and we've been breeding in this space for a very long time. So the genetics and the flavors that we have are different than a lot of other stores."
Berner says Cookies also takes a different approach to its store layout. One of the stores' innovations is a round table where customers and budtenders can gather to inspect the products.
"When you smoke herb, usually you're kind of in a circle," Berner says. "When you have a huddle in a football game you're in a circle, when you have good conversation, you face each other. So the way we designed the layout of the store is you can come in and a budtender greets you with an iPad, they bring you to the flower table, and you're around other people looking at flowers."
"So the round table creates a conversation for people when they're in the store," he says. "I think it's a really unique experience."
Since Detroit has postponed recreational marijuana sales until at least March 31
, Cookies will only sell to medical marijuana card-carrying patients for now.
It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.