VEGAS CANNABIS // #702VCM //
Spotlight of the Month:
Sativa Sean Smith, Cannabis Entrepreneur BY DAWN STARR LOOKING ELK VCM sat down with Sativa Sean Smith to ask him about the path that brought him to the Nevada Cannabis industry, and what he brings to the table for the future of our cannabis community.
DS: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. SS: I grew up in Las Vegas, ever since my family moved from the
island of Western Samoa in 1984. I went to Woodbury Junior High, and graduated from Chaparral High School. I’m a six-time Nevada State Golden Gloves champion which landed me on the prestigious US National Boxing Team for 5 years with Floyd Mayweather Jr. along with 2012 Olympic Boxing Coach and the last guy to beat Floyd, Augie Sanchez. Later in 1996, I made the Samoan Olympic Boxing Team. Shortly after, I attended UNLV on the Greenspun Media Scholarship and graduated with my B.A. in Mass Communications. Before college ended, I landed a coveted managerial job at MGM. This led me to Circus Circus and finally Boyd Gaming where I became the Sr. International Sales Manager at 25-years-old, I booked more business than the entire sales department combined- that’s when I learned the value of sales, I worked for Bob Boughner, the CEO of Boyd, and as in Bob Boughner Hospitality School UNLV. I really started becoming successful at 26, selling raw land to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, then purchased hotels, restaurants, developed land in the Northwest Valley and really "got into" Las Vegas. I met Oscar Goodman a few times when I had properties Downtown, I sold a property to Steve Siegel, (owner of Siegel Suites). I taught classes to International students wanting to become hotel workers, taught literature through the TRIO Program at Nevada State College for high school students transitioning to college and also taught at my old high school for several months, and I absolutely loved it. One thing you should know about me is I LOVE LAS VEGAS! This city can make you anyone you want to be, if you have the discipline. On the flipside, if you get carried away in vices, it will eat you up and spit you out and, believe me, I know both sides of that coin. I departed Vegas for a time in the late 1990’s up to 2010 to buy hotels and open a chain of snowboarder hotels with MTV Star Rob Dyrdek. But I' m back now...for good. My son was raised here and he attends Nevada State College. My family lives here and I love this community.
DS: What projects are you working on currently? SS: I love teaching, so I’m working my ass off for the next 20 years
in Las Vegas so I can build a school and teach on my family land in Apia, Samoa in 2040 or something. I’m working on a new airline for Las Vegas called “LVAIR”. It’s an ultra chic air charter that carries
200 High Rollers in a jumbo jet to Las Vegas in an aircraft that has recreated “Las Vegas in the Sky” (www.lasvegasinthesky.com). It’s a remarkable venture, and one of the greatest challenges of my life! This airline is my dream of dreams. After 12 hotels, I got tired of the hotel business, teaching doesn’t pay enough to keep me interested, so I developed this existential “F$%k YES!” or “ABSOLUTE NO” attitude on life. This is the greatest venture of my life, and it is an honor to simply dare to do it; so I’m doing it. It’s going to be either the biggest thing to hit Las Vegas since Bugsy Siegel built the first casino, or the biggest swan dive in history- but either way, we’re having fun. And finally, there is cannabis. It directly ties into LVAIR as cannabis will be part of the gift bag goodies when you land in Las Vegas, so we’re deeply researching the legalities, the issues, packaging, etc., and most importantly, the future, which I find to be no less significant than the end of Prohibition. That’s not hyperbole...that’s real.
DS: What are your motives and intentions for the NV cannabis industry? SS: I’m not sure if I mentioned, I LOVE LAS VEGAS. The cannabis
industry is very successful here, but there seems to be a fog over it, almost suppressing the bright, positive aspects of its development. People are apprehensively relieved (if that makes sense) when they should be celebrating this recognition of what’s been known all along- that cannabis is not the enemy. I plan to take a stand and be that person, that opens up the shutters, flings open the door and proclaims “Come in everyone, it’s time to celebrate our new found reason and relish in our freedom". It’s not just for those who partake, but for society as a whole. The tax benefits, the societal relief on prisons, the families put back together, the legal system progressing humanely, and least of all, a good opportunity for well-meaning businessmen to meet others that feel the same way. I’m holding a Bud Bash Business Mixer for my birthday in February since I know so many amazing people in the city! We’re going to celebrate, spend the evening together with brotherhood, music, entertainment, art and most of all...cannabis. It’s a private invite