Nevada’s medical marijuana industry is less than a year old, and after a slow start, dispensaries are popping up all around the valley.
There are currently 19 dispensaries certified by the state, and nearly all of them are open. There are about 15,000 medical marijuana cardholders in Nevada.
Many are first-time patients, but industry representatives say people are slowly opening up to the idea of medical cannabis.
“I think as more people become familiar with it, and understand that it’s medicine, and not really much of a street drug, especially now that we have it this way — I think it’s going to be easier now,” said Cristina Alfonso-Zea, medical marijuana concierge at the Appothecary Shoppe.
Workers at The Appothecary Shop say their dispensary is trying to ditch the pot-head sanctuary persona by going for a more elegant look and atmosphere.
“You don’t smell the marijuana, and you don’t leave smelling like marijuana,” according to Alfonso-Zea.
However, other dispensaries have a more modern feel.
“We display our strains on the wall with information like art,” Ben Sillitoe of Las Vegas Oasis Medical Cannabis said.
Spreading the word of their facilities has been a well-documented struggle for marijuana businesses. Early on in the medical marijuana journey in Nevada, dispensaries were plagued with permit problems and questions over pesticides.
Once all of that was sorted out, there was a supply shortage. Currently, 26 cultivation facilities are licensed, but there weren’t many that were when the dispensaries started opening.
“We’re using two-thirds of the facility right now,” according to Brian Delight, a cultivator at Deep Roots Harvest. “We have the ability to expand to another 40,000 square feet.”
The president of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association says the industry’s slow start was all worth it for the patients.
“We have the safest product, we have the best doctors involved, so it really is medicine in Nevada, and we’re doing it right,” said John Laub, president of Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association.
Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association hosts monthly tours of several of the valley’s establishments.