Company bides its time under L.A.’s strict regulations
LOS ANGELES — The complicated nature of operating dispensaries in Los Angeles leaves cannabis business owners few options for expansion. So for now, Buds & Roses owner Aaron Justis has decided to focus on quality over quantity at the Studio City dispensary.
Company: Buds & Roses
Owner: Aaron Justis
Location: Studio City, California
Operations: Dispensary; indoor grow
Much of that success is a credit to head grower Tyler Wadly, Justis’ best friend of 28 years and now brother-in-law. Wadly and Justis first moved to California shortly after the state legalized medical marijuana. Wadly has been perfecting Platinum Cookies for years, making it one of the most well-renowned strains in the entire industry.
“We just won what I would consider one of the two hardest awards in the flower category,” Justis said. “We won best hybrid in the NorCal Cup — first place with Platinum Cookies, a strain that we originally got from NorCal.”
Unlike growers who tend to isolate themselves from potential competition, Justis turned his grow operation into a training facility where cultivators can learn first-hand from his award-winning team. Many of those trainees eventually start their own grows and become exclusive suppliers for Buds & Roses.
“We’ve built this up through our collective,” Justis said. “Pretty much everyone who grows for us has started at our collective. We trained them.”
Buds & Roses opened in 2006 and is one of less than 150 dispensaries allowed to operate in Los Angeles. However, the turbulent nature of California’s medical scene has prevented Justis from making any serious financial investments in the company, despite resounding success in recent years.
“Buds & Roses’ numbers are up,” Justis said. “We’re on track to do 20% more than last year, and that’s really with just minimal efforts. Not a lot of marketing, not a lot of paid advertising. Again, it’s just building itself until we get that license. Then you’re going to see some massive expansion.”
Since Justis took over as president of Buds & Roses in 2010, annual revenue has skyrocketed from $40,000 to $3 million. Once the state begins issuing licenses, Justis said he plans on revisiting the designs his wife developed to match the other swanky boutique stores on Ventura Boulevard.
“We made it as mainstream as possible with a very small budget and without investing too much, since we still operate in a very unstable marketplace,” he said. “But I can’t wait until we can really design it the way we want.”