Planet 13 is a cannabis dispensary for the social media era.
Not only is it the largest marijuana retailer in the world, but its futuristic design components and audio-visual showmanship make a bold attempt to capture the attention of the 55 million visitors who come to Las Vegas every year.
“Our whole goal was to be vibrant and attention-grabbing,” marketing director David Farris says.
To that end, the company has clearly succeeded, with all the glitz and glamor of the casinos that have made Las Vegas famous. More than just a weed store, Planet 13 is an experience that begs to be photographed, shared and envied.
“We’re really geared up to be that huge destination in Las Vegas,” Farris says. “We’re definitely one of a kind in the whole industry. That’s kind of our vision.”
Even from a distance — or a window seat on a plane approaching McCarran International Airport — Planet 13 stands out.
Located less than one mile west of the Las Vegas Strip, the massive building features 13 electronic lotus flowers on its roof. Like many of the building’s fixtures, each 15-foot flower is an interactive piece of art; visitors can press buttons to change the colorful LEDs that can be seen from miles away.
“It’s really vibrant, especially for the 55,000 hotel rooms that overlook the property,” Farris says.
Another interactive feature is a laser graffiti wall designed by Todd Moyer, whose neon-fueled exhibitions have electrified crowds at Burning Man and EDC. An electronic spray can allows people to shoot a laser image onto the wall. Whether it’s a simple name or drawing, a marriage proposal or a Banksy tribute, the image can be erased at the touch of a button — after, of course, people have had a chance to take a picture.
“It’s so advanced that if you hold the spray can too long, the paint will start to drip,” Farris says.
The extravagant features are prevalent inside and outside the 40,000-square-foot building. The entryway houses an 18-foot fountain that combines LED lights and fog to simulate fire.
Inside the 16,500-square-foot dispensary space, shoppers are surrounded by audio-visual entertainment, “all to create that experience for the tourism market,” Farris says. Under visitors’ feet, an interactive LED floor cycles through more than a dozen sensory-activated designs, including realistic touches like splashes of water that emanate from every footstep; above their heads, 3D projections on the ceiling and hourly aerial orb shows maintain the lively atmosphere.
At most other cannabis shops, Farris says people go in, they stand in line, they talk to a budtender, they pick a product and they leave. The experience can be a bit underwhelming — a feeling Planet 13 aimed to avoid.
“We wanted to create those special moments for everybody,” Farris says. “What we’ve already seen here is people walking in and saying, ‘Wow, this is so large, this is so cool.’ They take photos in front of the water feature. They take photos as they’re stepping on the interactive floor. They’re already having a good time before they even step foot in the dispensary.”
And while most cannabis stores are more focused on getting customers in and getting them out, Planet 13 hasn’t ignored efficiency — 42 registers ensure there’s never a line.
Farris is quick to point out that the current iteration of Planet 13 is only the first phase of a much larger project. The next step will expand the cannabis superstore’s footprint to 112,000 square feet.
“We are looking to add a bunch of different retail components,” Farris says.
Plans are in place for a coffee shop, among other shopping amenities. The space will also be equipped for on-site consumption lounges, if and when Clark County approves an ordinance to allow them — something that most people believe will happen sooner rather than later.
With more than 50 marijuana retailers licensed in the greater Las Vegas area, competition is fierce as businesses aim to lure tourists with bigger shops, better prices and more attractions. Among Planet 13’s competitors is the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, located on the other side of town, which, at 16,000 square feet, previously laid claim to the largest dispensary title.
Farris hopes the social media component of Planet 13 will help establish the brand throughout the country.
“It was ultimately a huge focus of ours,” he says. “We were conceptualizing some different ideas and we wanted to do something where if you took a photo and shared it with a friend or family member, they would say, ‘Oh my god, where did you go?’”
When that friend or family member goes to Las Vegas, they’ve already got the name Planet 13 on the top of their mind.
“We wanted to create that flagship store that was special like that,” Farris says.
In addition to retail, the company also has two cultivation and production licenses. Its 15,000-square-foot facility in Las Vegas and 500-square-foot facility in Beatty, about 120 miles to the northwest, produce the Medizin brand of flower, concentrates and edibles.
And while the company plots the expansion of its current superstore on Desert Inn Road, it’s also looking beyond the flagship facility — although Farris declined to say exactly which markets are being considered.
“We’re aggressively looking at other territories and other markets,” Farris says.