Nevada is a tourist mecca. Between Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe, tourism makes up a significant portion of the state’s economy. In the 2018 calendar year, the 56 million people who visited Nevada collectively spent $65.5 billion, up from $63.7 billion the year before, according to the Nevada Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs.
So it was natural that when cannabis became recreationally legal in Nevada in 2017, many operators opened dispensaries near the high-wheeling masses that visit the state for relaxation and entertainment. Of course, no one could have foreseen that a global pandemic would grind tourism to a halt – hurting the cannabis industry that pinned its fortunes to it.
In the early months, Nevada was affected badly by the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus. The state had an unemployment rate of 28.2% in April as casinos and the businesses that thrive off of tourists were ordered to close. This greatly impacted the dispensaries who fed off the steady stream of visitors. Consider that Planet 13, touted as the world’s largest weed store, reported a drop of 35% in Q2 2020 revenues at the end of August.
The Local Bet
But not all cannabis companies bet large on tourists. C21 Investments, a vertically integrated cannabis company with operations in Nevada and Oregon, owns Silver State Relief which has remained focused on serving local medical patients and adult consumers in locations far from The Strip. With retail outlets in Sparks and Fernley, Silver State caters to a local clientele in a big way. The dispensaries are impressive, featuring over 800 SKUs in 15,000 square feet of retail space. In these times when people are practicing social distancing, the stores are also offering curbside pickup and next-day deliveries.
What’s clear is that the “think local” strategy has paid off.