As of Saturday 1st July 2017, Nevada made recreational marijuana sales legal, becoming the fifth state to do so. Medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada on November 7, 2000, so it’s been quite some time to wait for recreational marijuana to be legalized. No wonder so many dispensaries in Nevada are starting to run out of marijuana!
Nevada has always been more forward-looking than other states when it comes to marijuana. Even whilst it was only MMJ that was legal, dispensaries in Nevada accepted patients with medical marijuana cards from other states and, thanks to the state’s regulations, these dispensaries generally have a much higher quality.
Indeed, Nevada’s dispensaries are highly-regarded, and often feature amongst the list of the best dispensaries in the US. This is quite an achievement, especially considering that there are states with far more competition in terms of the number of dispensaries available. In fact, marijuana sales in Nevada have reached about $3 million in sales revenue in just four days, generating about $500,000 in tax. By the end of the year, it is estimated that marijuana sales in Nevada should reach to around $30 million.
So, how has it been in Nevada in its first tentative steps towards legalization? We’ll answer that now, whilst chatting with three dispensaries of excellent repute, The Apothecary Shoppe, Sahara Wellness and Pisos …
What do Nevada Marijuana Dispensaries have to say?
“The first week has been busy! The interest of patients and customers here in the Valley has exceeded expectations. What we’ve most enjoyed about this week is seeing the happiness of the customers as they are finally able to come into a legal, licensed facility.” – Ron Reavis, Director of Operations at Pisos.
With the long queues and huge numbers of customers, it seems that Nevada’s dispensaries are happy that their doors are open to recreational customers now as well. However, they haven’t lost sight of the medical potential marijuana has, and know that Nevada residents would benefit hugely from getting a recommendation and medical marijuana card (which we here at Doctor Frank’s can provide). As Jen McClaning, Marketing Director at The Apothecary Shoppe told us:
“Medical patients still take priority at our shoppe and are never obligated to wait in line with recreational guests.”
This sentiment of education and patient care is echoed over at Sahara Wellness where owner Brenda Gunsallus told us, “We try to provide an experience. We want everyone to take their time and ask budtenders any questions. Even though it’s recreational, this gives us the opportunity to help educate others. Patients still come first to us.”
To many people’s consternation, Nevada’s liquor industry secured the licenses to distribute marijuana throughout the state for 18 months. Though this can be seen as a somewhat suspicious move, there is reasoning behind it. After all, Nevadans voted to have recreational marijuana regulated in a similar way to alcohol, and it could be argued that the alcohol companies have the cash, technology and the reach to do so effectively. This gives Nevada’s liquor industry “first dibs” on cannabis distribution licensing.
However, as we’ve mentioned above, sales in Nevada have been going through the roof, and if the alcohol distributors can’t keep up with demand, the distribution licenses will be opened up to already-existing marijuana dispensaries. The matter will likely be settled on Thursday 13th July, when we will see the results of the first weeks of recreational marijuana legalization and whether or not the current crop of alcohol distributors can keep up with the huge demand.
How do Nevada’s Residents Feel About the Move Towards Recreational Cannabis?
Though we haven’t asked every single Nevadan their thoughts on recreational cannabis, they did vote for it to be legalized, and it doesn’t seem that they’re having second thoughts after their first week. In fact, Nevada’s citizens seem rather happy. People are less worried about getting arrested, and Nevada’s schools certainly will be pleased with the tax dollars they receive from the tax money raised by marijuana and ring fenced for educational services.
From what we’ve gathered from Nevada’s dispensaries, it seems that people are most happy with the range of flowers, extracts and edibles on offer – markets that would have been inaccessible to them before when recreational marijuana was illegal. We can’t imagine how much it has changed the average Nevadan cannabis user’s experience, and how much better it is likely to be than the flowers they’re used to getting on the black market.
The fact that Nevada accepted other states’ medical marijuana recommendations showed that Nevada took the needs of its tourists seriously. Moreover, medical marijuana users from other states had access to not just any old dispensaries, but some of the best dispensaries in the U.S. thanks to the quality controls that exist there. Now this market has been opened up to non-medical tourists as well as your everyday Nevadan, it means a great number of people from far and wide will want to try out what’s on offer here.
Why Do I Need a recommendation and MMJ Card for Nevada, Now That it’s Recreationally Legal?
Well, there’s the fact that you’ll save about 15% on excise (sales) taxes as well as all the special deals and happy hour offers available only for medical marijuana card holders, which can be a significant amount of money saved over the year. Plus, you have the added advantage of being able to buy and carry a little bit more on your person – medical marijuana card holders can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a 14-day (two week) period, in comparison to the 1 ounce recreational users can buy.
Yet, for the dispensaries, getting a MMJ rec and card is more than just a cash-saving exercise: it’s a signal to the government and the world to get marijuana seen as having huge medical benefits. Those who think of legalizing medical marijuana as a “stepping stone” to recreational marijuana legalization are missing a trick, as the case for medical marijuana advocacy is probably more important than the recreational side of it!
“Why?” You may ask. Well, it’s because thinking of cannabis as a recreational substance makes arguing against it easier, and leads to false comparisons to alcohol – a substance that has very different effects, biologically as well as socially. Educating people and getting them to think of this amazing plant as medicine first and foremost is what will get them to truly change their minds about cannabis’s potential. Until that happens, elevating the conversation even further will prove to be a more difficult task than it already is.
We here at Doctor Frank’s can recommend patients for a MMJ card in both California and Nevada. We highly advise you get one, or at least think about doing so. Call us today, you won’t regret it.