Planet 13 Enters California as State’s Largest Dispensary

Southern California residents have a new option for purchasing legal marijuana with the opening of the Planet 13 cannabis superstore in Santa Ana this week. The licensed dispensary, Planet 13’s third retail outlet and the first in the Golden State, opens its doors to customers 21 and older beginning on July 1.

“We are thrilled to be bringing our industry-leading retail experience to cannabis consumers in Southern California. The Planet 13 brand is synonymous with exceptional customer experience with a focus on extensive product selection, unique entertainment features, and world class customer service. Our Orange County SuperStore is designed to encompass all of the above,” Bob Groesbeck, co-CEO of Planet 13, said on June 24 in a press release from the company. “Orange County is home to 3 million people and has another 50 million visitors each year — making it a massive opportunity for consumer-focused cannabis brands. P13 OC is modelled after our extremely successful Las Vegas superstore, and with today’s announcement we look forward to offering consumers the Planet 13 retail experience, blended into the fabric of California.”

Although it takes its cues from the original Planet 13 location, the Santa Ana store is a California original. At the entryway to the new cannabis dispensary, a “hot-boxed” VW bus wafts artificial smoke, seemingly beckoning visitors inside for a quick selfie before the shopping commences. After a quick ID check, customers step across an interactive, digitally projected beach, leaving virtual footprints in the sand to be washed away by the next CGI wave. A shimmering waterfall, also a digital projection, parts over an archway that leads patrons to the retail salesfloor, which encompasses 16,500 square feet and displays wares from dozens of California licensed cannabis brands.

Future construction phases planned for the Planet 13 Santa Ana location will include cannabis memorabilia and ancillary retail sales areas, as well as a cannabis consumption lounge to be opened when local regulations permit the operation of such facilities. Cannabis product manufacturing facilities offering visitors a view of the production processes are also planned, according to Groesbeck. When complete, the entire facility is expected to boast a total footprint of 55,000 square feet, which Planet 13 is characterizing as California’s largest cannabis dispensary complex. The company is also billing the Santa Ana store as the world’s second-largest dispensary overall, placing behind the Planet 13 flagship location in Nevada, just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.

Regulated Cannabis Brings Economic Opportunity

At an opening celebration for the media and cannabis industry VIPs held at the new dispensary last week, Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said that the regulated cannabis industry represents new economic opportunities for the city he serves, the only jurisdiction in Orange County to permit retail dispensaries so far. On Saturday, July 26, Santa Ana saw the opening of a new dispensary from Cookies, the multistate brand co-founded by rapper and cannabis mogul Berner. The neighboring city of Costa Mesa is expected to begin taking applications for cannabis retailers later this summer, according to media reports.

Groesbeck agreed with Sarmiento, telling Cannabis Now that tax revenue generated by the dispensary will help fund essential city services while providing hundreds of new jobs for the community.

“It’s going to provide money to go into the public coffers to distribute to parks, schools, libraries, whatever the case may be, but it also is a big job creator,” Groesbeck said in an interview. “We’re opening the doors here and I think we’re close to 225 or 250 employees to start. And that’s only going to increase as we start expanding. And these are good jobs. This isn’t minimum wage stuff. These are really solid jobs. I think our starting wage down here for hourly employees is 15 bucks.”

Left to Right: Larry Scheffler (Planet 13 Co-CEO); Vincente Sarmiento (Santa Ana Mayor); Charlotte Parker (party guest); Bob Groesbeck (Planet 13 Co-CEO).

Groesbeck added that the company was hiring for positions including “everything from the support services and facilities maintenance all the way up to GM’s, of course. And primarily, everyone is hired to provide a great customer experience: budtenders, support staff of the budtenders, the queueing folks to check people in, and everything that’s associated with providing a great customer service.”

Besides providing steady, good-paying jobs, Groesbeck said the Planet 13’s business philosophy encourages promotion from within, giving the company’s workers the opportunity to create an entire career for themselves.

“People that work hard, put the time in, and dedicate themselves to the company, the mission, and our customers –  they’re going to move up. One day someone will succeed me and Larry,” he said referring to Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler. “Somebody in this crowd could be the CEO. That’s what we want.”

Planet 13’s new California location in Santa Ana opens to the public on July 1, with a grand opening celebration kicking off at 10 a.m. PDT.

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Calexo’s Sparkling Cannabis Drinks are a Perfect Replacement for Alcohol

Start the summer off right with some fizzy fun by stocking up on Calexo’s new line of super tasty sparkling cannabis drinks.

These drinks will keep you going through the hectic work week but are also a wonderful way to sip and socialize after hours with like-minded friends who prefer the high of cannabis to the buzz of alcoholic beverages.

Nano-Emulsified THC  

Founded by artists and creatives in 2019, Calexo is a Los Angeles-based beverage brand that launched its first sparkling cannabis beverages earlier this year.

“We wanted to make sure the drinks we created were things you could consume lightly and often without compromising your body,” said Calexo’s founder and CEO, Brandon Andrew, on the podcast Dazed and Infused.

Each bottle of Calexo is packed with all-natural ingredients and 10 mg of nano-emulsified THC, allowing for absorption sublingually through the blood brain barrier rather than through the liver. Nano-emulsification is an extraction process that creates tiny THC droplets from cannabis oil, perfect for sublingual consumption. These droplets mix uniformly throughout each bottle, resulting in a precisely dosed product with a quick onset. This means consumers can know exactly what they’re getting each time they pop open a Calexo.

“By using Nano-technology to make cannabis more punctual and reliable, we hope to encourage body sovereignty. We hope that each individual can discover what really feels good in their own body and learn how to fine-tune those experiences. Cannabis, with the right dose, set and setting, often encourages empathy and enhances creativity,” said Ian Colon, co-founder and CMO of Calexo.

There’s no sitting around for an hour waiting for the edible to kick in with these drinks. The onset period is 15 minutes while the offset is about an hour, making it fairly similar to having a cocktail – but without the toll on your body.

“We came at this thinking about our livers,” said Andrew, while on the same podcast. “Our audience is people who are looking to step away from alcohol but still want to keep drinking recreationally.”

Design-Centered Approach

Based in Los Angeles, Calexo brings an artistic and modern Southern California feel to their brand – especially in the presentation of their product.

Calexo cannabis drinks summer

On a bottle of the Citrus Rose drink, shades of teal and cream weave together while a burst of vibrant coral catches the eye, evoking a California sunset. Santa Monica-based design agency TRÜF is responsible for the branding, visual identity and packaging of Calexo, and they absolutely crushed it. The design is clean and simple while also feeling like a work of art. It doesn’t delve into cannabis clichés, as many edibles brands tend to do.

“Raising the bar on both quality and design of cannabis [products] helps to shift the collective conception of what this plant is,” Colon said.

Colon emphasizes that creating an aesthetically pleasing package design was an aim to reach more people.

“We represent a set of values centered on inclusion and excellence and know that appealing design and fantastic products are key in generating curiosity,” he said.

As a collaborative brand by design, Calexo’s founders intentionally sought out leaders in their field to help shape everything from the package design, content and experiences. Working with experts like, TRÜF, Better/Good, Resource Residency and Hotline helped to crystallize Calexo’s mission of high-quality design and inclusion.

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California Dreaming 🌴

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Calexo strives to “bring a smile to your mind” with their brand, and if the packaging alone isn’t able to do so, the flavors of their refreshing drinks certainly will.

Committed to always using carefully selected, premium ingredients with no artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors, Calexo’s Cucumber Citron and Citrus Rose are unique because the flavor is not modeled after a drink that already exists.

Using all-natural juices and botanicals, the goal is to complement rather than mask the nano-emulsified cannabis, and the result is a complex flavor that delights the senses.

Calexo retails around $20 per 22oz bottle and is available for delivery throughout Los Angeles from Sweet Flower and across the Bay Area through ONA.Life. The drinks will be available to the rest of California soon and will launch in Canada this fall.

TELL US, are you going to look for cannabis-infused drinks this summer?

The post Calexo’s Sparkling Cannabis Drinks are a Perfect Replacement for Alcohol appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Mitch McConnell Meets Cannabis Executives And Tours Facility In Lowkey California Visit

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is meeting with marijuana industry executives in Southern California this week and is scheduled to tour a cannabis facility there—a development indicating that the senator is increasingly willing to engage with stakeholders of hemp’s “illicit cousin,” as he describes it.

As first reported by MarketWatch, McConnell was scheduled to discuss cannabis banking issues on Wednesday and Thursday, just weeks after the House of Representatives passed a bill to protect financial institutions that service state-legal marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. Industry participants have been working to convince the senator to allow a vote on the legislation in his chamber.

Sources familiar with McConnell’s California cannabis activities vaguely discussed the plans with Marijuana Moment, but did not provide a list of invited meeting attendees or the name of the facility he is touring.

The majority leader has been a strong champion of hemp, shepherding a provision of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized the crop and its derivatives to passage. But he’s been a staunch critic of broader marijuana reform, and so the meetings with industry executives comes as something of a surprise.

Marijuana Moment reached out to McConnell’s office for comment on the meetings, but representatives did not respond by the time of publication.

Earlier this week, Fox News host Laura Ingraham publicly urged McConnell not to allow a vote on the marijuana banking legislation, raising fears that it would free up industry money that would go toward campaign contributions to Democrats.

This story was originally reported by Kyle Jaegar at Marijuana Moment. 

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