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This is what Germany’s first cannabis store looks like

The first store concept for a cannabis showroom was presented on Monday at the Internorga, the international trade fair for gastronomy and the hotel industry, in Hamburg. The Heesh brand shops will soon bring cannabis smoking closer to people across Germany. The pastel-colored shops are visually reminiscent of a mixture of an Apple store and an Iqos showroom.

The Heesh brand is a neologism of “He” and “She” and, according to its own statements, should stand for “openness and tolerance, for inclusion, equality and individuality”. As a “love brand”, Heesh should be friendly and create trust – just don’t create a dingy stoner image, that’s the idea.

Behind the Heesh brand are the cannabis company Synbiotic and the Enchilada Group, who announced their joint venture in April 2022. The Enchilada Group includes the catering brands Dean & David, The Big Easy, Enchilada, Pommes Freunde and Besitos.

With the forthcoming legalization of cannabis for recreational use, it is estimated that a billion-dollar market will emerge in Germany.

Cannabis in the franchising model

“We know how franchising works, have experience in all property locations and sizes and are fundamentally open to new ideas,” explained Stefan Hackl, CEO of Conducto, the investment company of the Enchilada Group, in April 2022.

As soon as the legislation is finalized, the concept will be rolled out across Germany and will enable licensed dealers to sell all previously legal cannabis products.

Heesh aims to make cannabis use sexy. (Image: Heesh)

“Cannabis not only stands for a market worth billions, but also for social change,” says Synbiotic CEO Lars Müller in a press statement. “With our new lifestyle brand Heesh, we are one of the first to give the new cannabis market a face. Our franchise concept combines a modern in-store interior and advanced digital solutions and is the first of its kind.”

In the Heesh stores, customers aged 18 and over should have access to a specially developed app and terminals for extensive information in addition to trained specialist staff. Interested parties can now apply to become a franchisee for their city.

The Heesh stores are reminiscent of an Apple store.  (Image: Heesh)

The Heesh stores are reminiscent of an Apple store. (Image: Heesh)

“Experiences from Canada and the USA show that demand will exceed all expectations. That’s why it was particularly important to us to set up a franchise concept that can be scaled smoothly,” says Müller. The Heesh concept is therefore designed in such a way that it can be used in properties of all types and sizes. “In this way we enable our partners and future customers to be able to serve the immense demand in the best possible way,” says Müller.

When is cannabis legalization coming?

In November 2022, Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach presented the official key issues paper for the planned legalization of cannabis – almost a year after the coalition agreement of the traffic light parties had been decided to allow the “controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes” and the cultivation, consumption and distribution of cannabis in to decriminalize in a controlled framework.

However, there are still hurdles to be overcome before cannabis is legalized in Germany. “The biggest question mark with the present key issues paper is and remains the interpretation by the European Commission,” Bloomwell Group CEO Niklas Kouparanis told t3n in November.

Cannabis legalization timeline – according to Müller, cannabis will become legal in late 2024/early 2025.  (Image: Screenshot Iternorga presentation)

Cannabis legalization timeline – according to Müller, cannabis will become legal in late 2024/early 2025. (Screenshot: Iternorga presentation / t3n)

According to Müller, this feedback from the EU Commission can be expected in the third quarter of 2023. According to Müller, Cannabis should then become finally legal at the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025.

Within Germany, however, there are not only supporters of cannabis legalization. Only in March criticized a new appraisalwhich had been commissioned by the Bavarian Ministry of Health, sharply focused on the planned legalization of cannabis as a stimulant.

The report was prepared by Bernhard Wegener, who holds the chair for public law and European law at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen. According to him, Lauterbach’s key issues paper violates both international treaties and EU law – and plans to circumvent this are not very promising. It remains to be seen who will be right in the end.

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