A Look Inside Planet Earth's Largest Cannabis Dispensary
By Brandon A. Dorfman
Aug 08, 2018
A PotNetwork Exclusive
Vegas showmanship and the cannabis industry will cross paths this year with the opening of the new Planet 13 Superstore in November. Considered to be one of the largest cannabis dispensaries in the world, Planet 13, which is part of Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (CSE:PLTH) boasts everything from lights to merchandising, adding all of the glamour and spectacle of the Las Vegas Strip to the dispensary experience.
The brainchild of Co-CEOs Robert Groesbeck and Larry Scheffler, the 40,000 square foot complex is just phase one of a multi-part endeavor, with 16,500 square feet dedicated strictly to cannabis retail. Located just steps away from the Las Vegas Strip, Planet 13 hopes to attract tourists of every ilk, from cannabis connoisseurs to those looking for a multi-faceted entertainment experience.
"We have already generated a loyal following of Las Vegas customers at our current dispensary location and we are confident that the Superstore will be a strong draw for the 55 million visitors from around the world that come to the city each year," said Robert Groesbeck, Co-CEO and board member of Planet 13 in a statement last month. "With Phase 1 of the project fully funded, under construction, and on time, we are excited to showcase the unparalleled interactive entertainment and product lines we will have available for guests in the coming months."
We spoke with David Farris, Planet 13’s Director of Marketing, to learn more about Earth’s grandest cannabis dispensary, and how the company hopes to change the cannabis dispensary experience.
Would you give us a little background on Planet 13 Holdings, for our readers that may not be familiar with your company? I understand that you currently operate a successful dispensary and hold a couple of cultivation licenses in Nevada as well?
Within Planet 13 Holdings, we do have a co-located dispensary. We have been open for a little over two years. We service the Las Vegas market; we do see both tourists and locals. We have expanded our cultivation and production, and now we have our own branded product which is Medizin. We have vape cartridges, flower, concentrates, and a few different edible varieties. That’s been huge for us, to have international, award-winning in-house products. A lot of people’s in-house products are not normally that successful which we’re very excited about and appreciative of.
Planet 13 is also one of the few public cannabis companies with existing revenue, to the tune of $9 million in 2017. Talk about that if you can, and how you’ve developed the Planet 13 brand into such a successful name in the cannabis industry.
We were determined to create a successful, upscale, elegant dispensary that many people, we felt, were looking for and couldn’t find in the area. Our current establishment really incorporates that Vegas feel, that Vegas vibe, within our store. We felt like our quality of product and our ambitious daily drivers and products really brought a huge local market that surrounded us and opened up their arms to us, because we do service many tourists, being minutes from the strip, but we have a huge local following which has very much contributed to our success.
You also are an award-winningbrand, with several top three finishes in the IC Mag 420 Cup for your cannabis strains. What has that meant for the company, in terms of showing that you’re more than just a brand, but that you have the goods to back it up, so to speak?
I talked a little bit about that before, us having international, award-winning products, one of these being Chloe. That’s really our prized possession, and that’s something our VP of Operations, Chris Wren created himself that has gone on to win awards for flower hash. We have that Chloe product in shatter, live resin, flower, and cartridges. We definitely spread that strain across many different product varieties. We also have Million Dollar Baby, which is an award-winning strain which is very heavy indica, really good for nighttime and people looking for sedation. I think that balance of award-winning products brings a ton of people in who request those strains specifically by name.
Let’s talk about the new Planet 13 Superstore. What’s the idea behind the store and what kind of impact you think it will have on the cannabis industry?
We broke ground a few months ago in the very beginning of June. We started reshaping the interior of the store and we also started doing some heavier work on the exterior. We did just recently hold more of a first-look announcement event on the 19th of July, and that’s where we really showcased our project. We teased the public a little bit throughout that process but, recently at that event, we showcased the interior renderings, we showcased what kind of entertainment and attractions we’re going to provide there at the Planet 13 Superstore. From local to international news wanted to cover that story because they’ve never seen anybody who’s put in over a million dollars of special effects and attractions into a cannabis superstore. It definitely caught the eyes of a lot of readers and news. Locally, we’re looking to add around 100 jobs, just for that site. Our whole vision for this project was to create a cannabis attraction, something that we thought is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
Who’s your target demographic for the new superstore? Is this the type of place that only cannabis aficionados will enjoy, or is it more of a Vegas attraction that will bring all sorts of tourists, cannabis user or not?
I think it will be very diverse, and that’s always been our goal. We wanted to provide an area where people could be interested in cannabis but not necessarily be experts. We want people who are locals, who are tourists, who really love marijuana or are just starting to really understand marijuana, to come to Planet 13, learn more, be entertained, and see what kind of products and varieties the largest dispensary on planet Earth can provide. And I think that’s something that really is important. Many people travel to Las Vegas; they’re all different groups and all different ages, so it’s important for us to still keep our standards. To enter the dispensary, they must be 21 years of age and older and things of that nature. But we want somewhere where you can bring your mom, or you can bring your friend or anyone.
From what I’ve read the store will have the full Las Vegas feel —lights, special effects, electric interactive lotus flowers on the roof. Talk about the experience a bit. What does one do at a cannabis superstore entertainment complex?
As you’re pulling up to the actual Superstore, you’ll see a big planet water structure in the front of the store. And this will be a vibrant red; this will have water coming out of it; this will have fog coming out of it. Right in front of there will be a unit where you can control the colors, or change the colors of the lotus flowers on top of the roof, which is very interactive and engaging. There will be 13 lotus flowers on top of the roof for Planet 13. As you approach inside of the store, you’ll bypass the reception desk area and you’ll step onto an LED interactive floor. You’ll see a glass corridor on the right-hand side where you can see into the dispensary, and to the left, there will be featured components of retail shops. As you look into the dispensary floor, there will be a 3D projection map on the roof that really makes it look like the ceiling is covered in lights. While that’s not going on, there will be a ceiling air show which will be an aerial orb show. And then, out front, there will be an area for laser graffiti where it looks like the form of a spray can and it shoots out a laser onto a screen wall. You can make your own graffiti; if you hold down the button too long, it will digitally start dripping on the text where you’re spraying it. It’s all about that interactive style where you can go and engage with all of our entertainment and enjoy yourself.
I’ve read that there are plans to diversify your revenue through merchandising, and an online ordering system. Can you talk a little about the different revenue streams that you’ll see through the new complex?
Especially with our merchandising component, our goal is to create a brand and, really, a lifestyle brand. We want to communicate that through some clothing opportunities and a few other merchandising, promotional products. Our whole goal with that is to create an associated brand where you want to wear those clothes, something that you can kind of align with and it’s something that’s elegant, upscale, you don’t really see in that shopping experience where you have a whole wall of, just, merchandise and things you can purchase. So they can bring it back home with them and really associate with it.
Nevada, of course, was one of the first states to legalize weed. How have things changed now that the list of states with legal weed has grown to about 30 in the U.S. Has cannabis tourism slowed down at all?
We’ve discovered that people are really just learning about Las Vegas having legal cannabis. And we hear it all the time, just being established right now, is some people don’t even realize that they can purchase marijuana legally in the state of Nevada or Las Vegas when they’re traveling. I think it’s important for us, as an industry, to communicate and I think the Planet 13 store can definitely contribute to that, being in the international news and being a beacon of legal cannabis in Las Vegas.
Although cannabis tourism is popular in Vegas, one of the issues that arise is the fact that tourists have nowhere to go to enjoy their product. They can’t smoke in public and hotels frown upon it. Do you think there need to be some changes to the law to accommodate this million dollar industry in the state?
The idea is already getting pushed into place right now. I know that, right now, Las Vegas is especially pushing for the opportunity to have lounges, to take place, and all those details. We’re backing the cannabis movement but we’re definitely waiting to see what’s to come because it is a difficult challenge for a lot of tourists who visit here and the areas where they’re able to use it.
Finally, tell me something I don’t know, something about your area of the cannabis industry that you think people should be talking about but they’re not right now.
How soon it is, away — it’s November 1st. People don’t really anticipate that we can put together the store in a few months. I’d like to communicate our eligibility for growth. Right now, we’re at 40,000 square feet of a 112,000 square foot building. If you can dream it, then we can make it happen. This is just phase 1, so there’s definitely room for other opportunities, entertainment, retail components that we look to through our different expansion efforts. This isn’t the end of it, and especially as we hit November 1st, we’re hoping to launch phase 2 shortly after.