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Blood Sucking Flies Coming for your Cannabis

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What happens when you mix the Mall of America with a laser light show and get the whole thing high AF? Las Vegas is about to find out.

On Nov. 1, the city is poised to welcome what's reported to be the world's largest cannabis dispensary to its garish ranks. Planet 13, the 40,000-foot monstrosity — for the record, that's roughly twice the size of Eureka Natural Foods — is opening just off the Las Vegas Strip and is described by Esquire magazine as an "amusement-park-meets-Apple-store-meets-night-club of cannabis." The building's exterior will feature large LED lotus flowers inspired by Burning Man that will move to the beat of pulsing music and a fog-laden, lighted water fountain. Inside, shoppers will find six glowing orbs dancing through the air above a motion-sensing LED walkway and projectors displaying "three-dimensional visuals." There's also a virtual graffiti wall, where people can use lasers to draw and tag to their heart's content before the wall is wiped clean for the next customer. In total, Planet 13 is said to have spent more than $1 million on special effects designed to leave customers "overwhelmed by the aesthetics."

As far as products, Planet 13 will offer two lines — one medical, one recreational — entirely sourced from its own cultivation facility, an indoor operation that spans 15,000 square feet and produces more than 2,100 pounds of cannabis per year.

 

Elsewhere, in another sign that cannabis culture is quickly going off the rails, rapper 2 Chainz — you know, the guy who hosts the television show Most Expensivest and launched his own line of marijuana themed ugly Christmas sweaters — has launched his own cannabis brand.

The Gas Cannabis Co., created in partnership with Green Street Agency, has begun offering three varieties of bud in select cannabis dispensaries and pulls its name from a 2 Chainz lyric in which he compares a drug house to a gas station. The flowers will be called Octane 93, Octane 89 and Octane 87 and the website offers a brief description of each complete with a 2 Chainz endorsement. For example: "Ninety-three octane got me gassed up."

Sad news, though, Humboldt: The "where to fuel up" link on the website informs us that the nearest "gas station" is in San Francisco.

 

Possibly intimidated by the prospect of competing with Mr. Chainz's dabbing Santa sweater, the upscale marijuana retailer MedMen has filed an application with the federal government seeking to trademark the term "cannabis" for use on T-shirts.

The application, filed last month with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, follows the company's successful effort to trademark a geometric pot leaf pattern design for shirts last year. But experts seem skeptical the government would approve the broad trademark without any stylized logos, designs or other terms.

 

If at this point in the column you find yourself thinking that soulless capitalists sucking the blood out of what was once counterculture is the scariest thing going on in cannabis right now, get a load of this: Scientists have discovered that blood-sucking sand flies are literally coming for your cannabis plants.

The flies, which suck human blood and transmit a variety of infections, including the ulcer-causing leishmaniasis, need to drink sugary sap in order to survive and a group of scientists that analyzed sites from Brazil to the Middle East found their favorite treat to be cannabis plants.

"We conclude that cannabis comprised but a small fraction of the available sugar sources in any particular habitat and that its ample representation among sand fly plant meals signifies bona fide attraction," the researchers wrote in an article for this month's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This begs the question: Do they have sand flies in Las Vegas? Because that would suck for Planet 13.

Thadeus Greenson is the Journal's news editor. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or thad@northcoastjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.

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