By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
The Electric Daisy Carnival has become the greatest weekend in the year for Las Vegas’ legal marijuana industry, said an executive with the world’s largest pot dispensary.
“We are trying to get a feel of the various events that have come through town and lean more heavily toward cannabis vs. other venues and EDC just blew the doors off,” Planet 13 co-CEO Bob Groesbeck said on Nevada Newsmakers.
The Electric Daisy Carnival, the world’s largest electronic dance music festival, is held annually at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Earlier this year, the three-day event attracted 465,000 fans and many apparently like marijuana.
“We thought we would have a positive response and they would like the facility and like the products we had to offer, but we really underestimated just how excited they were to be part of it,” he told host Sam Shad.
“We had huge, huge numbers across the board and we were very pleased with that. We can’t wait to have them back.”
The 2020 festival is scheduled for May 15-17. It will be the event’s 10th year in Las Vegas, since moving from Los Angeles.
The EDC crowd gave Planet 13 no trouble, Groesbeck said. Planet 13 is considered the world’s largest legal marijuana dispensary, with about 40,000 square feet of space with a current build out of an additional 15,000 feet of retail. The business is near the Trump Tower.
“I have to say, that as a group, they were very well behaved,” he said. “No issues whatsoever. Just a real fun loving crowd.
“It was a late 20s crowd, early 30s, it seemed,” he added. “I am very pleased they embraced Planet 13, the concept and spent time in our facility.”
Nevada voters approved recreational marijuana use and sales in 2016. Sales started in July 2017. Since then, the industry has grown quickly in Nevada’s urban areas. The highly regulated industry, however, has limited marketing options.
“Right now, if we tried to advertise in the new Raiders stadium that’s coming online, it is prohibited,” he said. “The airport is prohibited. But some of the smaller venues and some of these pro franchises are now taking a harder look at that. For us, we use traditional advertising platforms, billboards, a lot of social media and particularity for a younger crowd like EDC, that is very important.”
Marijuana remains a Schedule One drug in federal law, along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and magic mushrooms. Banking remains a major issue for the industry. Yet Groesbeck predicts a mushrooming marijuana industry in the new five years.
“It is going to be massive,” he said about industry expansion. “A lot of variables need to be addressed, with Schedule One being the biggest. But as more and more states legalize it and regulate it, it is going to be a massive industry.”
Groesbeck predicts former marijuana opponents will join the industry.
“For instance, alcohol, tobacco, big pharma, all are starting to position themselves to get into this space as well,” he said. “That is just the natural progression.”