A View from the Testbed — Traveling for Weed

Cannabis Tourism is a thing. It’s been one year since Nevada opened up the market for both medical and recreational Marijuana product and the impact in such a short amount of time has been remarkable.

Growing warehouse facilities

Look at the Numbers!

$305 Million in sales to date.

Just short of $50 Million to date in tax revenue for the state.

8000+ Employees in the industry.

61 Dispensaries, 115 Cultivators, 80 Production facilities, 9 Testing Laboratories.

Nowhere to put all that money!

It’s the fastest growing industry in the state.

Is Cannabis Tourism really a thing?

By comparison to other states the Nevada industry is relatively small. However, the interesting fact is that Cannabis Tourism has settled in nicely alongside all of the other entertainment offerings in the state, and particularly here in the entertainment capital of Las Vegas.

Late night lines at Reef Dispensary in Las Vegas

The numbers are impressive, although if there was any doubt a drive along Swenson Street leaving McCarran Airport will provide immediate confirmation. The first dispensary a visitor arriving by air to Las Vegas encounters is The Grove. It’s now entirely normal to see a long line of new customers waiting for their opportunity to pick up supplies from the friendly Budtenders to complement all of the more established activities that make up a Vegas getaway.

Once inside the dispensary experience is like a high end doctors surgery or retail environment. Expensive fit outs. Receptionists personally escort the customer to their personal Budtender who provides any education that might be needed on the vast menu of products on offer. Quite the hospitality style experience.

Dispensary retail experience

What’s next?

Vegas likes to do things bigger and better. Now that the basic model for the industry has been proven there are plans for further expansion and additional licensing moving forwards.

Cannabis influenced cuisine

24/7 access to product is also a natural for a city that thrives on around the clock partying.

At the same time the traditional major industries in the city have not fully embraced the new industry. State law prohibits Gaming operators and hotels allowing consumption of Marijuana product on property and also not on the gaming floor. Very hard to control, although it is a significant departure from embracing their customers usage of Marijuana products.

As yet approval has not been given for recreational lounges where spaces are made available for Marijuana consumption. It seems only a matter of time before this must come.

Smoking lounge experience?

Cigar lounge, cafe or coffee shop style experiences for Marijuana users? Perhaps even membership clubs. Cannabis based food and beverage outlets with cuisine from cookies to more established dishes or menu’s including the ingredient. For a city well practiced in providing unique food and beverage experiences, when the approvals come you will expect something special to embrace this new customer group, Vegas style.

Cannabis Tech

It’s a highly technical industry. Now that legalized trade has arrived so has the necessity to be able to manage and track the product. The term used is ‘from seed to sale’. This way the government is able to regulate a standard of product quality for the consumer, but more importantly track tax revenues throughout the production cycle.

A local Las Vegas company, MMJ America is working on new technology to improve the production cycle and yield based upon increasing the light on the plants during the growth cycle.

At the consumer facing end, basic point of sale platforms. Inventory management and a whole supply chain and finance platform, just like any other manufacturing or large retail style operator. Then there is regulatory reporting. Customer insight platforms. The list goes on.

The electronic Cannabis menu

Will the industry open up fully where digital shopfronts will sell product like many other retailers? Order from your device? Delivery businesses? Some allowances have being made for medical marijuana patients for home delivery.

Perhaps the future sees Amazon delivering your Cannabis product to the now ubiquitous Yellow Locker’s.

The missing tech piece is the banking and electronic transaction engines to take the entire industry to the digital age. Today, it remains a cash based sales process with a more traditional collection of takings akin to armed guards, trucks and cash pickups, but that is another story. It is hard to imagine that proper approvals for secure banking processes will not eventuate soon given the volume of money changing hands right through the industry supply line processes.

There is also significant supporting tech community working to optimize business process along the supply chain. Another local company to Las Vegas, 365 Cannabis provides full lifecycle technology platforms supporting the breadth of cannabis industry operations.

Cash only for the moment

Whatever the perspective taken on the Cannabis industry it’s definitely in a growth phase (pardon the very average pun). If it hasn’t come to a city or state near you the potential for state (and eventually federal) tax incomes and job growth will be hard to continue to ignore for the locations that are still holding out.

In the meantime Vegas can hook you up!