Vegas, Baby: Gambling, Entertainment, Elvis Weddings And Weed
Get ready, world: The biggest pot store on the planet is coming to Sin City.
It seems only natural that the country’s first cannabis entertainment complex and dispensary superstore would choose to make its home in Las Vegas, one of the world’s splashiest cities.
Recreational dispensary provider Planet 13 is building a 112K SF cannabis complex that will open its 40K SF first phase in November. The first phase will include 16,500 SF dedicated to a dispensary, a grand hallway and offices. The second phase will include retail outlets and a non-cannabis-infused coffee shop.
The complex is anticipated to be a pot lover’s dream, with the dispensary offering recreational cannabis, cannabis extracts and infused products.
It will also be a Vegas lover’s dream, featuring more than $1M worth of special effects lighting up the space. Visitors will experience laser graffiti walls with laser spray paint cans, an interactive LED floor, robot orb entertainers and electric interactive lotus flowers on the rooftop.
“We are overlooked by 65,000 hotel rooms,” Planet 13 Director of Marketing David Farris said. “We wanted to be vibrant and seen from a distance.”
Nevada state law prohibits casinos from being involved in marijuana, so the county restricted any cannabis businesses from opening within 1,000 feet of the strip, state Sen. Tick Segerblom said. Planet 13 is just off the South Strip about a third of a mile from Fashion Show mall.
“Once Planet 13 opens, it will put Nevada at a totally new level beyond anything which exists in the world,” Segerblom said. “We know it will establish Nevada and Las Vegas as the marijuana capital of the world.”
With a third of every dollar spent on marijuana going toward taxes, Segerblom said it is difficult to predict the exact impact to the local economy — he anticipates starting sales of several million dollars monthly.
The superstore has already received international attention.
“Residents will shrug their shoulders. This is what we’re used to,” Segerblom said. “Tourists will be blown away, which is what they expect in Las Vegas.”
Planet 13 is already an established force in the Nevada cannabis scene, holding two cultivation licenses for facilities that are licensed for production. One facility, 15K SF in the Vegas area, produces 2,100 pounds of cannabis a year. The other is a research and development center on 80 acres in Nye County, with the potential to house up to 2.4M SF of greenhouse capacity. The company is publicly traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
More than 40 cash registers will be located on the sales floor. Online ordering is available for pickup, and delivery services will be available in certain areas off Strip.
The Planet 13 superstore will be more than a place to duck in to buy product, Farris said. In addition to the special effects, merchandising units selling Vegas-style mementos can entice guests who aren’t interested in marijuana products.
“We don’t want an individual to walk in, do a quick sale and then leave and not really have that experience. We want to have them hang out for a few hours, have multiple things to do, spend some time there and really do what Vegas is about.
“We want to be more than just a dispensary,” Farris said. “We want to be an entertainment complex.”
Rules And Regulations
Planet 13 is actively pursuing other markets and has identified a few territories for expansion, Farris said.
In Vegas, shoppers will not be able to consume on-premise, as regulations do not allow for any lounges in Vegas. This will be tricky for tourists, who won’t be able to smoke marijuana in their hotel rooms or in public places, either.
“It’s such a hot topic right now,” Farris said. “It’s because people need somewhere to be able to consume safely.”
Even in states where cannabis is legal for recreational use, hurdles are not uncommon for prospective cannabis operators. California attorney Amir Sadr said cannabis operations are booming nationwide, with more state regulations allowing for usage and sales of medical or recreational cannabis.
Sadr, an associate at law firm Cox, Castle & Nicholson, has lectured on the regulatory framework that governs medical and recreational cannabis in California and the risks and opportunities for commercial property owners.
“As cannabis remains federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, many traditional landlords are resistant to permit cannabis operations on their properties,” he said.
Properties zoned for commercial cannabis operations can be limited, and Sadr said landlords and sellers can demand a premium — some markets have seen the price per square foot double or triple the market average.
For markets that are open to hosting cannabis operators, there are further opportunities to be had in the form of ancillary businesses, Sadr said. Side businesses include cultivation equipment, security services, products and accessories, technical and medicinal research and consulting services.
“These businesses, in addition to the cannabis operations that ‘touch the leaf,’ also require real property in order to operate and may drive the demand for office, industrial and retail space,” Sadr said.