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You’ve heard of Westworld? Welcome to Weedworld.
Planet 13 is a sprawling 40,000 square-foot weed complex in Las Vegas, minutes away from the famed Strip. It’s the largest dispensary in the world with 50-plus retail vendors, 70-plus cannabis strains and 42 registers. The superstore, which opened last November, serves 1,430 customers per day.
The store got its celestial name because of its massive size and because the letter M (for "marijuana") is the 13th letter in the alphabet.
Far out, man.
During a recent visit to Vegas, I was given a tour of Planet 13 by David Farris, the Director of Marketing. Farris is only 24 but has been given a ton of responsibility. "I’ve been lucky enough to develop and design all of our branding for the company, which is awesome. Whether it’s designing the Planet 13 logo to designing the brands within our packaging," he says.
Our tour begins at the front entrance, which boasts an LCD floor that moves around when you step on it. The images change, but during my visit, I walked on a Japanese-style koi pond that made little water ripples under my feet. This was pretty cool but I wondered what the experience would be like if I was high. "Whoa, dude. These giant fish are, like, freaking me out."
Inside the dispensary itself, a laser shoots 3-D images onto the ceiling as techno music throbs. The experience is more akin to walking into one of Vegas’s cavernous nightclubs than a pot shop, but that’s sort of the point, says Farris.
"We’re looking to redefine what’s normal. We’re not necessarily building a 7-Eleven where you go in and do a quick transaction and you leave right away. We want you to hang out, enjoy, spend some time here."
As he says this, glowing orbs float over our heads pulsating in different colors to the rhythm. He explains the aerial orb show was imported from Germany, which somehow doesn’t surprise me. This, along with the 15-foot tall acrylic lotus flowers on the roof and an interactive wall in which customers can us laser-tipped spray paint cans to write messages at night, is all part of the Planet 13 "experience."
Catering to tourists
Harris says one of the goals of Planet 13 is to be a tourist destination, like, say, the Bellagio Fountain Show or The Thunder from Down Under male revue. Like most of Las Vegas, Planet 13 is open 24/7. "More people that you would think love shopping for cannabis in the late hours," he says.
With its wood-paneled dispensary cases and sleek design, the aesthetic seems more targeted at the housewives staying at the Wynn than those staying at the Desert Hills Motel on Fremont Street. There is also a sensory station in the center of the store, where customers can smell the terpenes, educate themselves on the product, and ask the budtenders questions. Sort of Genius Bar for the ganja set.
Planet 13 recently introduced their own brand Trendi that caters to the out-of-town crowd. The most popular product in their line is a disposable vape pen.
"Everybody’s looking for the grab-and-go item," Harris says, "especially in Las Vegas. It’s all about what can I use on the go because I can’t take it on a plane."
Unfortunately, tourists aren’t legally allowed to take it back to their hotels either without fear of getting ticketed or arrested. Las Vegas law prohibits public consumption of cannabis anywhere but in private residences.
Planet 13 hopes to alleviate this problem by expanding their 112,000 square feet of property into a coffee shop, restaurant, and consumption lounge, but there is still some work to do on changing Vegas’s laws.
In the meantime, the orbs will continue to throb every half hour and tourists from all over the world will stream into the doors, looking to buy anything from glass pipes to grinders, pre-rolls to vape pens and everything in between.
January 14, 2019 at 07:27AM