Sol Cannabis founder talks consumption lounges 

Audio: an interview with Nevada cannabis entrepreneur Ed Alexander 

Sol Cannabis is a dispensary with an adjacent hybrid greenhouse that uses a combination of sun and lights to grow some 30 strains of cannabis. The facility is located in the Washoe Valley, south of Reno - photo: courtesy of Sol Cannabis

Cannabis dispensaries in northern Nevada are typically well appointed and very similar to each other. A greeter checks your id and lets you into the retail space where a budtender fills your order from a menu of items, but Sol Cannabis in the Washoe Valley, south of Reno, is different in several ways.

When you enter Sol, giant windows afford a view of the hybrid greenhouse where some 30 strains of cannabis are grown using a combination of natural and artificial light. To see so many cannabis plants spread out across a space the size of many gymnasiums is a striking testament to the legal status of cannabis and an unusual act of transparency.

Almost all legally-grown commercial cannabis in Nevada is grown indoors under artificial light. Sol is one of a handful of Nevada growers to use the sun, and possibly the only dispensary in the state that enables customers to see the living plants they consume.

Sol is also locally owned, which is another rarity among cannabis businesses operating in northern Nevada. Aside from a small number of Indigenous Peoples’ operations, hedge funds largely own the cannabis industry in Nevada.

Sol is vertically integrated and grows and sells flower and also makes its own concentrates, cannabis-infused gummy bears, tinctures, and other products. Beyond the memorable view of the grow facility, another architectural feature sets Sol apart from other dispensaries, a giant deck accessible from the dispensary. 

The Washoe Valley and surrounding mountains provide ever-changing beauty, and Alexander is given to hosting live music events on the giant patio. It doesn’t take an active imagination to see that the facility is potentially well-suited to become a consumption lounge or part of one, and that ideal suitability is not incidental. 

On June 4, 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed AB341 into law, which establishes the broad requirements for licensing cannabis consumption lounges.

Alexander is something of a visionary in Nevada’s cannabis business space. He was chair of the Independent Laboratory Advisory Committee, a body that established testing standards for the state’s exemplary medical cannabis system. He plans to continue to communicate with the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) and add to the consumption lounge discussion as the CCB and municipalities work to develop the rules to govern cannabis consumption lounges.

Ed Alexander recently stopped by the Innevation Center in Reno and recorded the following interview …

Music credits as reported to the Public Radio Exchange, in order of appearance:

Song: Thundernight
Artist: Mirror System
Album: N + X
Label: A-Wave
Date: 2015
Duration: :43

Song: Fluid
Artist: Jetsofunk
Album: Acid Jazz Instrumentals
Label: Irma Records
Date: 2016
Duration: 1:19

Song: Afro Spanish
Artist: DJ EZI
Album: Friends for Dinner
Label: Jon Kennedy Federation
Date: 2013
Duration: 2:14

Song: Monte’s Cello
Artist: DJ EZI
Album: Friends for Dinner
Label: Jon Kennedy Federation
Date: 2013
Duration: 1:13

Song: Diversion
Artist: DJ EZI
Album: Friends for Dinner
Label: Jon Kennedy Federation
Date: 2013
Duration: 1:41

Song: Chic Psychedelic (N-Port Version)
Artist: Mirror System
Album: N + X
Label: A-Wave
Date: 2015
Duration: 1:35

Song: Thundernight
Artist: Mirror System
Album: N + X
Label: A-Wave
Date: 2015
Duration: 4:09