Nevada is just 30 days into recreational cannabis sales, and it’s already been a banner month. The first four days of sales reportedly garnered more than $3 million in sales revenue, while people still fill the waiting rooms of area dispensaries to get a taste (or puff) of freedom. It hasn’t been all profits and bliss, though, because only two weeks after opening their doors to anyone over 21, many shops were already running low on product. What does this mean for a burgeoning industry in a city that draws millions of tourists from all over the world?
Although adults across the Valley are rushing to dispensaries in droves for infused chocolate bars and eights of Triple Bohdi, it’s not demand that is keeping the supply low, but the limited number of distributors who are able to transport products from the cultivators to the dispensaries. Evan Marder, the founder and chief operating officer of Matrix NV, foresaw the rush.
“I have plenty of inventory, but there’s just a major bottleneck with delivering. I strategized, I saw this coming and I knew how to handle it. I’ve been stockpiling for the last six months,” he says. “I want to continue supplying the dispensaries as they need it, but unfortunately this delivery debacle has put a wrench in the spokes of that one.”
The holdup stems from alcohol wholesalers being the only ones permitted to apply for marijuana distribution licenses for the first 18 months of sales, and not enough are actually doing so. This issue was addressed in mid-July by Governor Sandoval, with a “statement of emergency” that would allow the Department of Taxation to open the licenses to others beyond the wholesalers. Blackbird Logistics, a Reno-based medical marijuana distributor, swooped in to help dispensaries get the product they need for their customers, but whether they will be able to keep up with demand is still to be seen.
Although the delivery issue is beginning to improve, with several distributor applications currently pending, the next question is whether existing marijuana establishments will be able to keep up with the growing demand. Friday Night Inc., a Vancouver, British Columbia–based company that works with local cultivator and extractor Alternative Medicine Association, is moving forward with an expansion to meet the current need and the future market.
“We’re already scrambling to double our footprint,” says Friday Night CEO Brayden Sutton. “We’re growing right now from 20,000 square feet to double, if not five times that in the next six months. We really need to take advantage of these 18 months and essentially make sure we’re doing everything we can to increase our ability to grow as quickly as we can, prior to [the market] opening up to everybody.” The company is shopping around for a new, larger facility in the city and hopes to be moved in and well into harvest by September.
Matrix has already outgrown their original space as well. “We were on a limited budget when we built out,” says Marder, pointing out that Matrix has been using only about half of their existing facility. He continues, “I’m not saying I have an unlimited budget to work with, but at the same time, I can do some of the really cool things I wanted to do on our first build-out.”
The new expansion will fill the rest of their 30,000-square-foot facility, allowing Marder and his team to focus on the product. “My focus is all about quality, not quantity. I just want to be able to grow the most quality bud and supply as much as possible. So that’s what we’re aiming to do—just expand so we can continue to supply the demand.”
Both lawmakers and business owners are moving quickly and collaboratively to solve problems well for the future of this industry—and it also means that, hopefully, no one will be without their favorite strain anytime soon.