It's October 15th, 2022 and the state of Nevada has just begun accepting permit applications for cannabis lounges (October 14th to 27th). At this stage, there are small pockets of ongoing conversations with more questions than answers being put to the table. The conversations have sparked varied reactions across the divide with some being highly optimistic and others questioning the business model and other potential ramifications of such a move. The bare-knuckled truth is that the full scope is unclear at this point. Admittedly, it's a new concept that’s yet to cut teeth, in Nevada or elsewhere. But that hasn't dampened the unquenchable enterprising spirit of Planet 13, an award-winning vertically integrated cannabis company that will be opening shop on the Vegas strip in the most ostentatious fashion come early 2023. Join David Farris, VP of sales and marketing at Planet 13 as he demystifies consumption lounges.
MyCannabis: Planet 13 has gone all out to create this immersive kind of experience for consumers with creativity that leaves nothing to chance. What's the inspiration and motivation?
David: Our Planet 13 Superstore has been and will always be inspired by the Las Vegas Strip, when we were looking to build a destination, we saw the glitz and glamor of the hotels and venues that tourists loved to visit and knew that Planet 13 should also be a must-see Vegas destination.
MyCannabis: Many people in the industry are unsure of how consumption lounges will operate. Will consumers be allowed to bring their own smoking paraphernalia? Will they sell restaurant meals, booze, and other drinks as well? Will consumers pay extra to use these lounges? Kindly demystify how consumption lounges will work.
David: There are a lot of details that are still being fleshed out, but we do know that guests will not be able to bring in outside products and there will be no booze. We are excited to offer restaurant meals and cannabis beverages within the space by offering cannabis consumption at Trece, our restaurant at the Planet 13 Entertainment Complex.
MyCannabis: Some believe that consumption lounges are bound to become “tourist traps” where consumers will be forced to pay for everything: the weed, the tables, and consumption gadgets at a premium price. Is there any truth to this?
David: Tourists and Lounges have a strong connection because currently there is nowhere for visitors to consume legally and safely on the strip. We will allow our guests to create their own personalized experiences. Guests will only pay for the products they decide to order and we are not planning on charging just for a “table”.
MyCannabis: There are definitely several benefits of having legal consumption lounges, especially in places such as Vegas that attract millions of tourists, some eager to try out different cannabis products. But do you have any concerns like perhaps minors will be able to access such facilities or this kind of thing may encourage “driving under the influence” of marijuana?
David: We will serve a high percentage of tourists who are traveling through rideshare, taxi, etc. All concerns mentioned above has been a focus of the state and operators, to tackle these issue together, our operations team will take all precautions to best prevent this from occurring
MyCannabis: With the way that events are unfolding, do you foresee a future where a majority of dispensaries will have consumption lounges?
David: Not every dispensary is set up to have a consumption lounge concept. My best guess is about half of the current dispensaries open lounges within the year. I do think the business model is so new that we will see this evolve a ton over the next few years, especially in the local market. Planet 13, The World's Largest Cannabis Dispensary and SuperStore will design our Vegas-style consumption lounge night to rival the top nightclubs on the Vegas Strip.
It was a great pleasure to have this one-on-one with David Farris from Planet 13. Readers who wish to keep up with the company are more than welcome to visit their website.