By Crystal Harrell
Having been established the same day the world shut down on March 18, 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reefer Madness is a dispensary that has beaten the odds and retained their reputation as a Palm Springs cannabis staple. Appropriately themed with Alice in Wonderland, Reefer Madness Dispensary and Lounge sends customers down a rabbit hole of Medical Marijuana-derived products and organic certified goods.
The dispensary is Steven Wijatyk’s creation that stemmed from genius and some minor health issues. Using cannabis helped Steven through some stomach issues and, in turn, he wanted to start his own business in the cannabis industry. His sister, Amanda Adkins, works as the Marketing and Social Media Manager.
“My brother is the owner of Reefer Madness and called me in a panic. He had no website, no logo, just his newly opened shop and limited products. I stepped in to help and designed his logo and took over the shop’s Instagram feed as well as Facebook. From there, I continued to help with whatever was needed and eventually became his marketing manager,” explained Adkins.
Having now been open a year and a half, the Reefer Madness inventory has grown two fold. The dispensary now has over 1,500 different products. They carry all different kinds of flower strains—ranging from popular options like Blue Dream to some rare finds such as Candy Land by Top Shelf. Reefer Madness also has one of the largest cannabis selections in the Coachella Valley ranging from flower, edibles, topicals, tinctures, vapes and concentrates.
“We pride ourselves at finding fun new products such as our Luchador Gummies and new infused potato chips by Tsumo Snacks. I never imagined there would be THC infused potato chips and different flavors too,” shared Adkins.
This year, Reefer Madness will be participating in the 35th annual Greater Palm Springs Pride event. The dispensary will be participating in the parade and decking out the Reefer Madness box truck with Pride colors and decorations. They will also have a booth on Arenas Road and will be giving away a lot of fun Reefer Madness merchandise items such as sunglasses, t-shirts, bags, and more. Additionally, the staff will be giving away some coupons with great deals with the opportunity to win big on a prize wheel. There will be some swag and non-medicated treats from some of their distributors that are a favorite among customers.
“Being that we are gay-owned and operated, we are an inclusive work place and support the LGBTQ community in Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities. We believe it’s important to show our customers and staff that we support equality and diversity and that our establishment is a safe place for the community to come and enjoy themselves,” stated Adkins.
The Lounge at Reefer Madness is tastefully decorated and has been home to several fun events, such as Monday night football pizza parties, Taco Tuesdays where guests can bring tacos or have them delivered while smoking their favorite brands while they enjoy their meal. The Reefer Madness Lounge recently hosted a scary movie night for Halloween and have an upcoming tie-dye event with one of their distributors, Select Brand, on November 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A list of upcoming events in the lounge can be found on the dispensary’s website, ReeferMadnessLounge.com.
“I feel having the lounge and the ability to hold fun events inside our lounge sets us apart from other dispensaries. We have been called the Cheers of the neighborhood. I hope most folks are old enough to get that reference, but basically we are known as the fun local hangout where everyone knows each other and makes friends.
The Reefer Madness Lounge recently had a make-over by High Design, and the dispensary is being featured on Discovery Plus. The show designers gave the lounge its unique retro Palm Springs feel while maintaining the fun, whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme to create a must-see and experience place.
Adkins loves the bonds that have formed and the way she has been able to affect her customers while working at the dispensary.
“My favorite memory and experience working for Reefer Madness was when we had a woman come in whose mother was in her 90’s, and she was looking for cannabis products to ease her mother’s pain. We spoke with her for a long time and let her know of all the products she could use to ease her mother’s pain and help her. She wrote everything down and said she would be back, and that she wanted to speak to people at other dispensaries. She came back to us an hour later, and said hands down that we were the most knowledgeable about the products and the most caring of her mother’s condition, and she felt the most comfortable in our shop. She purchased products and I felt like I really helped, not only her mother, but I felt I helped her as well during a very hard time in her life. Sometimes people forget that cannabis is helping people who are in tremendous amounts of pain, and I feel very fortunate that I work with some very compassionate budtenders who really care about helping people,” recalled Adkins.
Despite top-notch branding and success, Reefer Madness is still a small business and Adkins is personally proud that they are not corporately owned. Her hope for the business in the future is to expand to other locations such as LA and even her family’s hometown in Arizona. The top priority will always be maintaining their “mom and pop” status and staying the “Cheers of the neighborhood”.
Visit the Reefer Madness website, www.reefermadnesslounge.com, to learn more about the dispensary