First Cannabis Dispensary Opens in Las Vegas

2015-08-27 11:12:14

New cultivation facility and dispensary openings are becoming a more common occurrence, with even traditionally conservative states like IllinoisDelaware, and Maryland getting into the game following passage of medical cannabis laws intended to help patients.

On Monday, August 24, Euphoria Wellness opened in the southwest valley of Las Vegas. The dispensary hosted 200 pre-registered patients — all of whom had prescriptions from their doctors — and a long line of customers outside its location. Euphoria Wellness is the first dispensary to open in Las Vegas and the second in the state of Nevada (following Silver State Relief, which opened in July in Sparks, Nevada, just east of Reno).

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Unfortunately, the dispensary currently offers only six strains, but hopes to stock more than 25 strains after business ramps up and supplies increase. Although currently not available, edibles like candy and baked goods and concentrates such as oil (BHO) and tinctures will also be available to patients, beginning in October.

Lack of Supply

Euphoria Wellness was staffed and ready to open its doors months ago, but didn’t have sufficient product. Patients like Linda Yost, a stomach cancerpatient who battles pain and nausea with cannabis, think it was worth the wait. Said Yost:

“I am no longer throwing up, I have my will to live again and life is good.”

One early customer purchased a half ounce of two strains, Kosher Kush and Cheese, for $225. Due to supply constraints, half an ounce is currently the purchase limit for patients. The dispensary sells grams for $17 and ounces top out at $336. While more expensive than most dispensaries in Colorado, California, and Oregon, these prices are lower than Delaware (where an ounce costs patients about $400-450) and New Jersey (which sells ounces for $500-550).

Long Time Coming

When interviewed, many patients complained of the long wait period between passage of Nevada’s medical cannabis law in 2000 and today, when they are finally — 15 years later — able to legally and safely obtain medicine from a licensed dispensary. Until now, the only way in which patients have been able to obtain medicine is by growing it themselves or turning to the black market.

David Cobbett, who uses medical cannabis to treat back pain, said he prefers marijuana because the narcotics prescribed by doctors carried negative side effects. “I sat in a wheelchair and did nothing,” he said. After four years of having a medical marijuana card, Cobbett is finally able to safely access tested and quality-assured cannabis medicine in a fully legal manner.

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After passage, literally nothing happened with Nevada’s medical cannabis program until 2013, when the state legislature formed a regulatory and licensing system for cultivation operations, production facilities, and dispensaries. Since then, the state has been in the process of granting permits and allowing authorized businesses to build out cultivation and retail infrastructure in preparation for business.

Democratic congressperson Dina Titus, who was present at the grand opening of Euphoria Wellness, said:

“I think they are going to be successful, if you look around here, you see this is a very professional place, they’ve got experts, a lot of security.”

Republican senator Patricia Farley, who has helped push medical cannabis bills through the state legislature, said she is confident that the early roadblocks to safe access that have plagued patients for nearly two decades are over. She said:

“This is going to be a successful industry in Nevada that brings in good jobs.”

More dispensaries are slated to open in Las Vegas in the near future. It is anticipated that roughly 50 cannabis dispensaries will be in operation by the end of the year, in addition to cultivation and production facilities that will provide them with raw cannabis and cannabis products. Hopefully Nevada’s regulatory framework will allow enough production to satisfy demand, with the goal of increasing supply and, eventually, decreasing prices.

 

Photo credit: Reviewjournal.com, SFGate.com, Euphoria Wellness

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