Every major cannabis municipality in the country has an “elevated” dispensary acting as an access point for consumers historically intimidated by the green cross era of pot shops. Through a soothing mixture of design, curation, education, and customer service, these dispensaries have been creating new audiences, with women over the age of 50 consistently cited among the most engaged and lucrative. While some stores undeniably land the enhanced aesthetic, few seamlessly merge appearance with the medical needs of people entering their autumn years.
In the pastoral coastal community of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where the median age is 63 and the net worth close to $6 million, Synchronicity Holistic has been a safe bridge for an in-need community that once was deeply skeptical about cannabis.
Synchronicity finally opened its doors in December 2019 after founder Valentia Valentine spent the better part of a decade trying to convince the city council and the county board of supervisors cannabis has a vital role to play in the wellbeing of seniors. The 66-year-old serial entrepreneur and philanthropist made cannabis advocacy her focus when, in 2010, she started using the plant to manage symptoms related to multiple sclerosis.
“I knew the story of an affluent, older woman using cannabis to treat her MS would challenge a lot of people’s assumptions around here,” said Valentine, whose impassioned activism quickly made her a familiar voice in the municipality and in local media. “I wanted to show people cannabis is a medicine, and it helped me get out of bed and out of a wheelchair. It gave me my health back, and I knew it could do the same for so many others.”
The Central Valley native and mother of seven was diagnosed in 1989. Both her family and her commercial real estate business were growing as