When High 5 first opened, my friend Ryan Galford from Rootworx was all about getting me down to Vancouver to check the place out, which is owned by some friends. He told me how cool the people were, how the vibe was fun and American artistic. He also mentioned the owners like AgingEnt.com and the work we're doing! Pretty cool.
A couple months ago, I got the chance to stop by and made a brief, incognito visit to grab a quick something for the road and shot a social media pic with the shop tagged. Initially, I was impressed at the flow of the store and how attentive the staff was to customers. My experience was swift and professional. They seemed to have a fair amount of product at the time, and the pricing was reasonable considering the incredible level of service offered.
Since then, I've been back several different times, and they have hosted multiple Meet the Grower events. I was able to take part in some way in 3 of these in a row. In the handful of weeks since the LCB ruled that 'Vendor Day' events were allowed, High 5 Cannabis has hosted at least one such event weekly! It's impressive and they're not stopping - events just keep getting planned!
This is obviously the most hip, fashionable, well-stocked, fun store in Vancouver. Hands down, the best shop in town.
Early last month, Ryan told me Rootworx was having a Vendor Day at High 5 Cannabis and asked if I wanted to head down there and help join the event as sort of a cannaseur consultant for his brand, pretty much everything of which I've smoked once at least. I was stoked, and while a thousand things went sideways, everything turned out ok, and the store set a freakin' record! They sold many, many hand-rolled joints. I had a blast getting to represent a brand that I trust to be outstanding whenever I smoke it.
At that time, I talked with the owners of the store and found them to be truly down-to-earth individuals. Both Calista and Jon will tell you their team is the reason they are successful. They seek diverse, interesting, passionate, caring, responsible adults for their "family" of employees. That busy day, Jon was grilling burgers almost to order for the entire staff (and an Ent who wandered in).
In turn, each of the staff members I've spoken to has shared that the family environment and the leadership of the owners drives their everyday successes. These employees have a blast, and their job is incredible. You can hear from several of these budtenders in Marijuana Encyclopedia Episode 29, recorded at the Meet the Grower! Heavenly Buds.
Walking in the store, immediately you know it's a place you want to be! The space is huge and open, and there is something cool everywhere. To the left, a massive wall of license plates from all over the USA. In front of it, an awesome front end from a '55 Ford (it's assumed a '55), that has been made into an incredible desk/table. I got to podcast on it recently!
The back wall with the massive High 5 Cannabis logo draws the eye and you notice the awesome ceilingworks and the massive, weathered corrugated sheet metal wall hanging like tapestries against the sturdy brick wall. The way this wall is painted gives it such clean lines and makes a great backdrop for the cannabis market atmosphere in here.
It's this big tall space that is filled creatively and effectively with distinct pieces of rough and gritty, real, authentic artistic expression. It feels a large part homage to Americana of the Highway Towns era, and at least equal part true Washingtonian rot, rust, and age aesthetics.
Any geek instantly notices the Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2D2 enails that are on display. Each of these is a fully functioning, high powered enail, and they're also legitimate, official, licensed Star Wars collectables. All over, they have a hand-procured collection of some of the best glass I've seen in this part of Washington.
I was standing next to owner Calista, and noticed a Sheldon Black next to a great Special K piece. I had to comment on the quality of glass. All the little banger-hangers from Valley Blown glass were great, and tons of other top-notch product. She looked me right in the eye and said, "Well, I like cool glass, don't you like cool glass?" Hell yeah! That's why it's so good. She knows what cool is.
The most recent Meet the Vendor I attended was Honu! Our friends on #TeamPurpleTurtle know what is up! They have the best vape concentrates and award winning edibles! I've reviewed so many of their concentrates. This is indeed the most reviewed brand here at AgingEnt.com.
Likewise cool, are these vendor days. Each of the Meet the Grower events that I've been to has had a distinct vibe.
The first time, with Rootworx, there was a table inside the door, and a vast amount of $5 hand-rolled 0.5g premium all-flower joints went home with customers. There was a ton of conversation about how the flowers were grown, and Rootworx has photos from throughout the development and growth processes of their leading strains and products.
Customers seemed to love the idea of being able to talk to Anna, Plant Manager at Rootworx, and also an outgoing representative for the brand. She shared about the team and told the story of the heritage flowers they are growing. It was great to say things like "There's the woman who handrolled your joints!" The look on a customer's face when they heard that was incredible, it's such a great feeling to the artisans who are building this industry.
When Craft Elixirs was there, they had a chance to focus on showcasing their product. Because much of what they do is edibles, they were able to share non-infused blends of their syrups with lemonade and tea, and other delicious concoctions. Also, you could try non-infused cacao-dusted pineapple bits or the dried citrus Fremont Freaks. They were all non-infused products, served by Ari who is head chef and an owner at the company. "I love being able to make such delicious treats for people," she said.
Craft Elixirs makes some of the best syrups I've ever had - infused with cannabis or not! There's Wallingford Wanderlust, a strawberry-peppercorn that I love on vanilla bean ice cream. Ginger Grass is intense ginger flavor and 100mg of CBD per bottle to add brightness to Asian dishes or to kick it down with some intense, CBD-enriched Ginger Beer. Being a Chicagoan, I appreciate the Logan Blvd 312. This is homage to an owner's Chicago roots, and 3 kinds of berries make it sweet and vibrant.
Another highlight is the newest addition to their line: the amazing Dank's Chocolate Syrup. It comes in 50mg and 100mg containers, Indica and Sativa. Like all their products, they're gluten free, non-GMO, and vegan. All these products deliver on taste, but also potency. They're made with concentrate extracted with alcohol for consistent dosage.
Our friends at Heavenly Buds came by for a party on the third weekend in a row that we attended - and Valley Blown and FrydGlass were also there doing demonstrations and showing how glass gets made! That was really cool. Tons of their work is featured on the shelves of High 5 Cannabis - they have some compressed, funky banger hangers that I really dig.
This felt much more like a party, than it did like a Vendor Day. That may have had something to do with the free tattoos that some customers got! The tattooist was only able to get four people done, and the fifth person Jerri won an special swagbag giveaway from AgingEnt.com to make up for it. She's also in Episode 29, along with our other winners!
The most recent Meet the Grower event was also amazing, it was our great friends at Honu! Right inside the door, I ran into - once again - friend and reviewer SueVo of the Cannabis Daily Record. This family-owned business (3 brothers, their parents, and their wives too) is doing an incredible job. They've got award winning edibles, and they're also the most reviewed brand on AgingEnt.com. Their concentrates are also amazing, although High 5 does not stock those currently.
Here at High 5, they focus on those delectable edibles, like Gimme Sa'mores! and the best Peanut Butter Cups ever. Their chocolate to peanut butter ratio is perfect every time. They handed out samples and told the cool story of their products.
Not to be overlooked are their newest product, Castlerock Cuff Cannabis Chew. They told quite a bit of the story of their incredible topicals coming out. These are in The variety of aromas, and the great texture of the balm was incredible. The cucumber aloe one is my favorite! Plus they have infused Terpedos coming out!
One more cool aspect of these Meet the Grower events is that it's a great reason for the store to give customers a discount! Each of these events had a 10% discount for the day, for the related brand. When Rootworx had their event, the first 100 people got their first joint for $3 instead of $5. Ryan and I forgot to stop saying this, so it was actually more like 160+ people. You're welcome! Honu had 15% off their products!
So many people come to High 5 Cannabis looking for unique, attentive service and they get it. Walking in, Chris secures the door and welcomes all the guests. Chris makes me feel like a sapling, as he's got to be 6'7" and has a lustrous beard and velvety, rich tone of voice. He knows his customers, and he knows his store.
His job is critical as a valid ID is required to purchase cannabis in Washington. Even folks who are obviously well above the legal age to purchase and consume cannabis must be ID'd. The WSLCB "tests" retailers with stings ranging from the underaged to people with someone else's ID, or even a recently expired license. Just a few such violations, and a retailer's license can be suspended or even completely revoked.
Chris feels he owns the security role at the door. "Whoever works the door, during my breaks or whatever, has been trained by me. They must see every single ID. From a young kid who doesn't look 18 let alone 21, to a grandmother who might look 80."
When a break did come up, "I'm not allowed to work the door," said Calista, shaking her head. "He doesn't let me either," said Jon, from nearby. This shows how they empower their team to do the tasks they need to get the best result as a whole. "We trust our staff," Jon said. It's working well.
The steady flow of customers walk through and get lead naturally from the entry to the displays. The main displays are an embellished U shape of glass top and front displays. There are a pair of tower-like displays at the edges of the main section, and these beautifully feature a variety of edibles and transdermal solutions as well as sublingual tinctures, and other treats.
Vapes are the first product you seen in the first of the the waist-high glass displays. The selection is huge! They have things from brands like Ionic and Double Delicious, then you encounter one of the tower displays, and turn the first corner. On this left side of the main shopping area, you see what is is hands down the largest selection of concentrates we've seen in a recreational cannabis store. This is a #dablife waystation.
They have Heavenly Buds concentrate, Green Ghost, Oleum. The store even has THC-A Crystals - 99% pure THCA and $90 a half gram at the time of writing. I've yet to try it. They also carry Dab Dudes (and Hi Guys) at the other end of the spectrum and a ton of other dabs. I mean, seriously, the most dabs in one place. I'm definitely impressed.
Behind this display is a nice shelf on the wall, stacked with premium edibles by Honu. I believe High 5 Cannabis stocks every single type of edible that Honu has to offer, and they may soon be carrying the new Castlerock Cuff Chew. #PurpleTurtle
Flower options here are exceptional as well. On the right side of this arcade of cannabis displays, some of most incredible #WAPot brands ever are on display. Once again, Heavenly Buds, Rootworx of course, and Sunshine Farms, Puffin Farms, Phoenix Cannabis Company, zen cannabis, 420 Gold, and more. It's important to note that every shelf has got handy magnifier-lights, to look at the product up close. This is more important than I ever knew it could be!
Then right between the exceptionally huge displays of cannabis flower and extract, book-ended between the two register spaces, is another largest selection I've ever seen in a legal marijuana retailer: pre-rolled joints. This is a flat-out insane amount of options.
Every single day there is a $4 joint, and sometimes - especially on Meet the Grower days - there is a $3 joint. Also, though, Sikars which are hash joints by Sitka, and Prohibition Brands barrel-cured joints as well as their layered Tommy Guns, and of course hand-rolled joints from Rootworx. Heavenly Buds spike theirs with a bunch of kief, for an even more primo experience. Handrolls sell out, and there are always fat cones around.
As soon as you look like you might want to take a look at a product, a staff member is there to help you. Each customer I saw was treated kindly, and questions were answered helpfully. No one in this establishment sells by numbers. This is the kind of top-notch budtending that leads to educating customers.
When customers did want to know about potency of products, I repeatedly heard reference to flavors or a detail about the grower's methods or ethos. Often, the complexity of terpene profiles was discussed, and how these compliment the cannabinoid profile to enhance the experience. None of this is the result of pressure sales tactics, hustlin' product, or rushing customers.
Through my several visits I interacted with each and every budtender for some amount of time. I'm admittedly bad at names, but I want to thank each individual (and have in person, and will again) for the hard work they do everyday.
The team at High 5 Cannabis is setting a standard for the way that the cannabis industry guides and provides for marijuana customers. Not only that, the level of service they're delivering is top quality in comparison to any sector of the retail industry. It's great service and a caring attitude that make me want to return as much as I possibly can.
It's that attitude that lead to me working in partnership with and to be sponsored by High 5 Cannabis. They meet my high standards as an awesome retailer who has what I want for the prices I like, provided to me by awesome, unique individuals. It is also one of the best spaces I've seen in legal cannabis.
Prices are fair, I'd say. While they are definitely not the lowest priced retail store around, they are one of the most attentive, informative, well-stocked, and enjoyable to visit pot shops I've ever been in. I want to come back all the time. I know the product is top quality. That's why there is an ever-so-slight premium in cost when you visit remarkable stores like this one. I myself would much rather pay a buck or two more on my total bill to be an awesome location with exceptional people and get top quality product.
Overall, I have to say that High 5 Cannabis is one of my all-time favorite retailers. Maybe even the favorite. They have passionate owners who are involved daily and working to bring exactly what customers want. Staff are all strong personalities who are motivated by sharing knowledge and giving people the experience they want and need with this incredible plant. These are some real stoners who know what is good, provide great product, and safe access to everyone 21 and older. Go support these awesome people and smoke weed every day. It's retailers like this who set the standard for the global legalization of recreational cannabis.