Last November, eight states passed recreational marijuana initiatives, giving a boost to the already booming cannabis industry. Yet out of all the new potential markets, Nevada seems to have attracted the most interest, as out-of-state businesses have partnered up with local ones.
Since marijuana remains illegal under federal law, you cannot simply load up a truck and drive it in from California or Colorado: Product that is consumed in Nevada must be made in Nevada, from seed to shrink-wrap. Dixie Elixirs, an edibles/drinkables company out of Colorado, has entered the Nevada market through a partnership with Silver State Wellness. Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer of Dixie, says, “Our hope is that as Nevada moves into a more recreational market, we can leverage our experience in Colorado and share some of that knowledge and have a safe and effective industry.”
“Our ownership had always planned to have a fully functioning production facility. So when the opportunity to partner with a group like Dixie presented itself, we were excited to learn from them,” says Jacob Silverstein, marketing manager of Silver State Wellness. Their facility has now been largely built out, with different rooms for making chocolates, distilling tinctures and bottling elixirs (although there is abundant room for further expansion). “We were able to tailor the plans to the specific product lines that they carry and use their expertise in sourcing different material, like the ingredients and packaging.”
Another brand that has hooked up with a Nevada business is Purple Haze Properties, a line of products carrying the official Jimi Hendrix endorsement that comes to us with a little help from Silver State Trading, which handles the actual cultivation. There’s Little Wing and Purple Haze strains, as well as pre-rolled joints that come in a Jimi-branded box with a collector’s card—exactly the sort of thing that appeals to tourists.
“It’s something that stands out compared to all of these different strains and people competing. If it’s a celebrity brand, more dispensaries are willing to try it,” explains Andrew Pitsicalis, CEO of Purple Haze. “Plus, with the social media [reach] of the celebrity, they can blast it out and have a huge platform of people to market to”—not to mention all the inevitable Instagram postings of visitors toking up Jimi on their Vegas vacation.
Pitsicalis—who is originally from Las Vegas—is excited about Sin City’s potential as a nexus for cannabis business and culture. “Now that you’ve got recreational and people can come from around the world and walk into shops and buy—their sales are going to be off the charts,” he says. “Nevada, even though it was the slow snail, winning the rec vote is going to vault it ahead of everybody.”
Businesses from the cannabis sales end have entered the market as well. The Clinic originated in Colorado—where it now has five dispensaries—but has expanded into Illinois and, most recently, Las Vegas. Gustin Tubbs of the Clinic Nevada explains that “a presence in Nevada, where there are not only patients from all over the country, but all over the entire world [who are] seeing what we do and seeing our brand, we think it’s vital to our expanding nationwide.”
“We kind of see Nevada, especially Las Vegas, as the melting pot of the cannabis industry,” he says, “There’s knowledge and there are products coming from all over the entire country and representing what we feel is the best parts of the industry.”
The 40 million tourists who come to Las Vegas every year offer any cannabusiness an enormous potential audience for their brand. Hodas also looks forward to using Vegas as a platform to introduce not just Dixie, but the entire industry to the world. But he doesn’t forget the best market base is the one that stays in town. “Vegas is known for its tourism industry. It’s very international, very diverse,” he says, “We know what works well for the tourist in town for a weekend versus a local who is here for the long term.”
- Visit the Clinic Nevada and mention you saw them in Vegas Seven for 20% off your purchase.