What are the day-to-day concerns?
The environment for cannabis retailers in Nevada has changed pretty drastically. When we first started in 2013, getting a consistent amount of quality product was an issue. It also turned out that the actual number of medical patients was much lower than anticipated. Those were some tough years.
Then, when Nevada legalized adult-use cannabis, we had a massive influx of new customers. We’ve nearly doubled our staff in the past few months.
Are there any issues specific to Las Vegas?
Visitors and tourists are usually unaware of Las Vegas’ policy surrounding cannabis use. It’s not like alcohol. Cannabis can only be used in private, or you risk facing a hefty fine. Gaming establishments are particularly picky because of their liquor licenses. Don’t light up anywhere near a casino!
Tell me how your online ordering service works.
We offer online ordering for pickup and delivery. We make sure our drivers are safe by verifying the customer before we deliver. We get their ID, their address, and any other useful information. Our drivers follow our set of standard security protocols when making a delivery, and, knock on wood, we haven’t had a single security problem yet.
What have you seen with your loyalty program?
It functions similarly to an airline rewards system. For every dollar spent, you acquire more points that can be redeemed later for products in the store. Our customers have really taken to the loyalty program. About 70% of our customers are loyalty rewards holders.
What’s your approach to branding and marketing?
We take a minimalist approach that focuses on the product instead of flashy advertising. We keep it simple and focus on the basics.
Is your grow connected to your dispensaries?
One of our grows is located close to the airport, and it’s a warehouse grow. Our other grow is about an hour outside of Vegas, and it’s also an indoor grow. We intend to build a greenhouse there in the near future.
How do you deliver from your grow operations to your dispensaries?
How you transport cannabis in Nevada differs depending on whether you’re transporting medical cannabis or recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis can be delivered in-house without any need for a separate license.
Recreational cannabis transportation, on the other hand, must be conducted by a licensed distribution company. We recently acquired a distribution license in September, so we’re able to transport our own recreational cannabis now.
What environmental controls are you using?
We use high-output, commercial-grade systems that are designed for use in large office buildings or data centers. They’re very sophisticated and allow us to adjust temperature and humidity with quite a bit of precision.
What’s your approach to pest management?
Our lead grower follows a really excellent IPM regimen. We’re always on the lookout for everything, including mites, bugs, powdery mildew, mold, and anything else like that; what you might call your standard fare pests.
Do you perform extractions?
We primarily make vape pens and cartridges under the brand name “8-Fold.” We also make an array of concentrates, including wax, shatter, crumble, budder, and distillate.
What have been some of your biggest challenges?
Under the medical-only program, we really struggled with a very small customer base. We also saw wholesale prices fluctuate rapidly, which caused supply problems. We’ve had to roll and adapt to the industry.
What have been some of your biggest successes?
Not only have the critics’ doomsday predictions not come true, we’ve seen so much positivity come out of the community. The responses I’ve heard from customers and patients have been amazing. Day after day, week after week, we keep hearing amazing stories. People have been able to get off opiates, sleep better, deal with digestive problems, help with cancer, and more.
What advice do you have for a new grower?
First and foremost, expect to make catastrophic mistakes. That’s just a reality.
Also, avoid the temptation to only look a few weeks down the road. Plan out everything for at least 6 months in advance. That means facilities, nutrients, strains, pest management, and more.
What advice do you have for someone looking to start a dispensary?
Cannabis is no different than any other retail business. Understand your customer, you’re demographic. Figure out a way to meet their needs in an efficient and profitable way. Be warned, there are more rules and regulations than other retail industries, but if you understand your customers, you should be successful.
This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.
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