The first thing you need to know about the Southland’s newest pot-superstore-meets-theme park — Planet 13 Orange County, which opens to the public in Santa Ana today — is that it’s big. Like furniture-store big, city Target big and largest-dispensary-in-California big. The second thing you need to know is that even of you’ve never heard of Planet 13’s over-the-top approach to slinging weed (a larger flagship opened in Las Vegas in November 2018) and your knowledge of pot culture begins and ends with Cheech & Chong’s 1978 stoner comedy “Up in Smoke,” the immersive, entertaining and totally Instagram-worthy approach to cannabis commerce is going to become only more prevalent as the state’s legal marijuana market matures.
That’s because the over-the-top visuals and selfie-worthy backdrops are as much — if not more — a savvy marketing play as they are over-the-top entertainment. “We have a hard time advertising, because we keep getting shut down on Facebook and so on because we’re cannabis, Planet 13’s co-Chief Executive Larry Scheffler said during a pre-opening tour. “[Customers] advertise for us when they take a picture … It’s unbelievable. That’s what’s helping us grow