5 Questions Interviews Skunk Magazine


Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. What are you striving for in your professional career? What differentiates your dispensary from others?

Courtney Caron: I am a co-owner of The Artist Tree – Fresno. I am also the Founder of Adamant Law Group, a cannabis centered boutique law firm focusing on the representation of cannabis retailers, which led to me meeting the founders of The Artist Tree and co-owning The Artist Tree Fresno!

Professionally, I wear many hats. Whether engaging in the practice of cannabis law in California, consulting out of state, or checking customer IDs at our Fresno location (my favorite pastime), I strive to promote the normalization of cannabis use. As a retail store co-owner my main objective is to ensure that each customer, we welcome through our doors is provided with a unique retail shopping experience that is free from pressure and stress. Our ultimate goal is to provide an environment where all of our customers feel welcomed, appreciated, and safe. Because our business model is so unique and truly a community benefit in itself, I would love to see an Artist Tree retail store in every major city across the state of California and the US, giving artists one more platform to present their creations.

Fresno Exterior. Photo Courtesy of the Artist Tree

Warren Bobrow: What kind of research did you do to establish an interior design? Did you work with an architect? What kind of materials did you utilize?

Courtney Caron: The Artist Tree’s original concept was created in 2018 for the city of West Hollywood’s retail application process. Founders Lauren Fontein, Avi Kahan, Mitch Kahan and Aviv Halimi understood that West Hollywood celebrates the arts in so many ways, and we felt that the first cannabis retail store in West Hollywood should too. Unlike the lackluster, windowless dispensaries of days past, focused solely on cannabis, The Artist Tree is as much an art gallery as it is a store. It highlights and enhances the vibrant art community by showcasing a carefully curated mix of local artwork from established and up-and-coming artists.

Our design aesthetic was created by renowned architectural firm Retail Design Collaborate (RDC). Materials incorporated in our design include glass display cases, light colored wood flooring and shelving, custom metal flower tables, custom metal art easels, bright but soft lighting and an open floor concept. Most notably, at both the Fresno location and West Hollywood location we feature a large glass cube where clones are grown and sold.

Fresno Joan Sharma Easel. Photo Courtesy of the Artist Tree.

Warren Bobrow: What are your six and twelve month goals? What kind of obstacles do you face along the way? How do you anticipate removing those obstacles?

Courtney Caron: Within the next 6 months, The Artist Tree plans to open their Oxnard location and their El Sobrante location. Additionally, we hope to bring more awareness to cannabis consumers of our West Hollywood consumption lounge.

Within the next 12 months, we hope to find additional opportunities for retail in California and start to expand beyond the CA borders. We’d love to celebrate art and cannabis across the US.

Obstacles we typically encounter include slow moving municipalities, community push back related to cannabis in general, and more recently, the recession. We tackle slow moving municipalities by being extremely organized and prepared to hit the ground running on all of our projects. We are typically the first retail store to open in most jurisdictions where we hold a license. We try to keep a wide open line of communication, and always welcome dubious municipalities and community members to visit one of our galleries across the state. Tackling a recession can be a bit trickier. The Artist Tree always offers daily deals on top quality products for our customers. This helps even the most budget conscious consumer purchase safe, tested, quality cannabis.

Fresno Joanna Chrys Art. Photo courtesy The Artist Tree.

Warren Bobrow: Do you work with local artists? Who are they? What are their mediums?

Courtney Caron: In each Artist Tree location, we showcase art created by artists from the community where the store is located. Artists may submit their art for any of our locations on our website here.

In our Fresno location, our first art installation featured paintings and photography by Joan Sharma, Nicolas Rattaire, and Lance Anderson.

Fresno Art Portrait. Photo Courtesy of the Artist Tree

Warren Bobrow: What is your passion?

Courtney Caron: I am extremely passionate about serving the local communities where we operate. Developing and implementing Community Benefit Plans in each community brings both me and my partner Lauren Fontein great joy. Whether donating funds, conducting in-kind donation drives, or volunteering our time with deserving non-profit organizations, we are passionate about improving the lives of others in a meaningful way. At the core of The Artist Tree is the celebration of the arts. Whether performing arts or fine arts, we are passionate about promoting the creativity present in each of our communities.