Planet 13 isn’t on the outer edges of the solar system. It’s in Las Vegas. And it’s so close to the Strip, it’s almost next door to the Trump International Hotel—separated only by the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club and the Erotic Heritage Museum, home to the “world’s largest sex bike.” Throw in the Hangover Heaven IV drip service around the corner and it couldn’t be in a more “Las Vegas” part of town.
Bob Groesbeck, Planet 13 CEO
So it shouldn’t be any surprise the Planet 13 Superstore—with a total of 112,000 square feet and investment of $7.5 million—wants to be more than just the world’s largest dispensary. It’s a “cannabis entertainment complex” that’s ready to embrace a new wave of cannabis tourism in Las Vegas.
“This is unique,” says CEO Bob Groesbeck. “It’s the first of its kind, not only in Nevada, but in the world.”
The Ultimate in Cannabis Attractions
Is it the Walmart of weed? Or the Disneyland of weed? Perhaps a little bit of both.
The first phase is fully funded, under construction and on track to open in November. For shoppers, there will be 40 to 50 check-out registers to keep business moving along—and business is expected to be booming. In addition to the aforementioned Trump International, Planet 13 is a quick walk from big resorts like the Wynn, Mirage, Venetian, Palazzo and Treasure Island.
A rendering of the inside of Planet 13. (Courtesy of Planet 13)
But shopping is just one part of the equation. Las Vegas knows how to mix retail and entertainment better than anyone. Whether it’s the Bellagio fountains, an erupting volcano outside the Mirage, or a Swarovski crystal light show at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s, the Strip loves having a free show in front of a shopping mall or casino. The sinking pirate ship may be docked for good at Treasure Island, but Planet 13 is more than happy to carry on the tradition of mixing no-cost entertainment with commerce in Las Vegas.
Interactive technology will be front and center. Visitors are invited to control 13 colorful LED lotus flowers made with acrylic leaves and metal stems that stand 15 feet tall on the roof. More than an art display, the flowers are an identifiable splash of color to match the neon glow of the Strip. “Those can be seen from over 65,000 hotel rooms throughout the valley,” says Director of Marketing David Farris.
Even the elaborate water feature out front is a clear indication dispensaries no longer need to carry themselves with the same discretion as an adult video store.
You may wonder if you’re shopping for cannabis or hanging out at an electronic dance music festival.
Once inside, guests will walk across a sensory-activated LED floor with digital designs responding directly to every footstep. A show featuring six aerial orbs will run on the hour, every hour. Think of them as beach balls with the power of a drone and enough intelligence to not bump into each other while dancing in sync to music.
If that’s not enough to keep your attention, feel free to tag the walls with laser graffiti or check out some 3D projection imagery. You may wonder if you’re shopping for cannabis or hanging out at an electronic dance music festival.
“Are we over-the-top? Maybe a bit,” says Groesbeck. “This is Las Vegas after all.”
Big Ideas and Local Government Support
If there’s any doubt the pot business has gone legit in Sin City, just glance over the resumes of the gentlemen behind the venture. Groesbeck is a former lawyer who was once mayor of Henderson, Nevada’s second largest city. He now shares the title of Planet 13 Holdings CEO with business partner Larry Scheffler, who himself served on Henderson City Council.
(Courtesy of Planet 13)
During a recent hard hat tour, a few political friends were invited to get a first look at the new digs, including a guy who could be running the entire state by next year.
“It’s very innovative,” says Steve Sisolak, Democratic nominee for Nevada governor. “They’re taking a big risk. It’s an enormous gamble financially, but Larry and Bob are smart and know their stuff. How do you monetize this whole deal? It’s hard to get back millions of dollars, ten dollars at a time. I’m optimistic they’ve figured it out.”
Steve Sisolak, Democratic Nominee for Nevada Governor
These days, Sisolak’s setting is locked in campaign-mode. He’s immediately ready with a handshake at all times and the first words in any conversation revolve around the importance of jobs—and for the record, Planet 13 is creating about a hundred of them. Yet he’s also a longtime supporter of both medicinal and recreational cannabis and in-tune with the role cannabis can play in the image of Las Vegas as a land of attractions. In the same way M&M’s World is selling more than candy on the Strip, Planet 13 is selling more than pot.
“Cannabis tourism is something people want to see,” says Sisolak. “This industry is in its infancy. Nevada is known as the gold standard in the world when it comes to gaming, and I believe we’ll be the gold standard in the world when it comes to cannabis.”
Just like anywhere else, politicians butt heads in Nevada, but wedge issues are often set aside in favor of endorsing economic drivers. Even members of the GOP are coming around to the benefits of dispensaries and how Planet 13 is raising the stakes in a city not afraid to gamble.
“This is big,” says Michele Fiore, a Las Vegas City Council Republican who supports cannabis as much as the Second Amendment. “People come here for bachelor and bachelorette parties. We have the biggest conventions in the world. Now we have sports tourism with the Vegas Golden Knights and the Raiders coming in. With marijuana… what don’t we have?”
After the first phase gets off the ground, Planet 13 will announce plans for the second phase early next year. A coffee shop is already in the works and the team is “entertaining multiple offers” to add a consumption lounge once the local laws allow it.
Meanwhile, work will continue to transform an old Coors Beer warehouse into what could be the most ambitious cannabis dispensary in the world. For now, buyers can still check out the original, smaller version of Planet 13 and its medical-focused sister location Medizin in southwest Las Vegas.