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Exploring Planet 13 Las Vegas from a Canadian Perspective

Yesterday, the Business of Cannabis team descended on Las Vegas for MJBizCon – the world’s largest cannabis business conference. 

As we settled in, there was another “largest” that we were keen to explore: Planet 13, dubbed as the “world’s biggest weed shop”. 

Since many of our Canadian friends have spent the better part of a year lamenting the state of cannabis retail in Canada – we thought we would share some top line comparisons between Planet 13 and retail cannabis in Canada. Interestingly, the place was swimming with Canadian cannabis people, doing the same comparisons we were, including at least one LP CEO.

Here is a quick rundown:

Advertising + Proliferation = Advantage Las Vegas

When you arrive in Las Vegas and step outside to get a cab, you know you are not in Canada anymore. Nearly every cab has some sort of cannabis advertising. Planet 13 must have wrapped 50 percent of all Las Vegas taxi cabs – and there are more than 60 cannabis shops in Las Vegas alone. And the billboards – oh the billboards. Everywhere you look, cannabis billboards advertising shops and product. 

Security = Advantage Canada

If you find it burdensome and intrusive to get into some Canadian retailers – stay away from Planet 13. A line-up at Planet 13 brings you to someone behind a desk and computer ready to scan your ID. The line was 20+ deep at one point – so it took some time to get everyone scanned in. And that was just to get you inside and shopping. 

Size + Variety = Advantage Planet 13

Everything in Las Vegas is big – and Planet 13 is no exception. As a complex, Planet 13 is massive – over 100,000 square feet. But the actual dispensary within the complex appears to be about the size of a Shoppers Drug Mart – maybe 10 – 12,000 square feet. The buying of cannabis products happens in a fairly confined area of the complex. Of course, that size is filled with the variety we do not (yet) have in Canada. Edibles, vape pens, concentrates and even cannabis dip (think Copenhagen, but for cannabis). 

Payment = Yikes

The payment processing happens through a somewhat clunky 3rd-party payment system. (Planet 13 would not accept Canadian credit cards.) Once you swipe your card in a handheld terminal, a code is sent to your phone via text where you must enter that code back into the terminal to complete the transaction. Not a seamless process. Bring cash. 

Overall, a solid purchasing experience in a fun environment. Las Vegas is normalizing cannabis use – and quickly – mostly because of the proliferation of advertising. Canada (or Health Canada) could take note, the sky does not fall when you advertise where or what to buy.

Reviews of the actual products will need to wait until later. Until then, please follow Business of Cannabis on Twitter, LinkedInFacebook and Instagram for the latest from MJBizCon.

– The Business of Cannabis Team

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