Las Vegas Launches Recreational Marijuana Market

Customers wait on line at The+Source

The+Source on South Rainbow Boulevard was at the center of the action on the morning of July 1, with first recreational customer Senator Tick Segerblom cutting the ribbon, so to speak. Before making his transaction, he listed the virtues of regulated marijuana sales: tested, no pesticides, no fertilizers, no metal or harmful fillers or ingredients. And because we’re all curious what Nevada’s godfather of marijuana asked for, “Preferably something I can put in a joint,” he said to the employee behind the window, who appropriately returned with Segerblom Haze, the strain named in the Senator’s honor.

Nevada Dispensaries Association president and co-owner and CEO of The+Source Andrew Jolley was also in attendance and witnessed the long line of people patiently waiting to see what The+Source had to offer: flower and edibles as well as oils, vape pens and cartridges and topical forms. “We’re extremely pleased with the turnout and look forward to increasing awareness and education of retail sales,” Jolley said in a press release.

 

A happy Senator Segerblom heads out with his purchase.

The launch of recreational marijuana in Las Vegas made the July 4 holiday weekend even more festive, as folks lined up at dispensaries across the Valley to get their first taste of legal weed.  “I believe there were at least $3 to $5 million in sales over the weekend,” said Nevada Dispensary Association executive director Riana Durrett in a press release, adding, “This aligns with our projected 30 million dollars in sales over the next six months.”

Almost two years ago, Euphoria Wellness became the first medical marijuana dispensary in the Las Vegas area, and they were among the dispensaries opening their doors at midnight for eager customers. Euphoria managing director Darlene Purdy says that, “everyone seems excited that it’s finally here” and their launch was “busier than we had projected,” with some willing to wait almost three hours for their first taste of legal cannabis. However, as at many dispensaries, medical patients get priority access. “We’ve always been targeted towards patients, we’re more local-based,” she notes and Euphoria intends to maintain that focus—although the dispensary has embraced the rec market and is already in the midst of doubling in size to accommodate them.

Krystal Ramirez

Bud from Matrix Cultivation

However, the recreational cannabis market launch could hit some turbulence. The pending lawsuit by liquor distributors to claim all marijuana distribution licenses for themselves means that stores cannot restock recreational product—and, given that sales have exceeded expectations, they may run out soon. The Department of Taxation has requested an emergency regulation to allow them to consider other distributors since, as of July 7, no distributors have been licensed.

Department spokesperson Stephanie Klapstein said in a press release, “We continue to work with the liquor wholesalers who have applied for distribution licenses, but most don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them.” She also noted that some dispensaries have said they will need to restock within the week. “Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many … people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt.” The governor—who is counting on marijuana taxes to help fund the state’s educational system—has endorsed the statement of emergency and it will be considered for adoption on July 13.

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