Mar­i­juana sales in Ne­vada ex­ceed stores' ex­pec­ta­tions

Get­ting high on the mas­sive mon­e­tary sup­ply

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Recre­ational mar­i­juana sales have ex­ceeded the ex­pec­ta­tions of Las Ve­gas area store own­ers, who have seen long lines out­side their dis­pen­saries since Satur­day, when Ne­vada be­came the fifth state with shops sell­ing pot to the pub­lic. That move jump­started a mar­ket pro­jected to be fu­eled by the tens of mil­lions of vis­i­tors that Sin City wel­comes each year.

Ea­ger pot cus­tomers on Mon­day again lined up be­fore dis­pen­saries opened their doors. Some were look­ing to make their first pur­chase since Satur­day, and oth­ers were shop­ping for sec­onds. Tourists and lo­cals alike have taken ad­van­tage of the change in state law. “I’m a very happy with the way sales have gone and con­tinue to go, es­pe­cially when you con­sider that the word didn’t re­ally get out ahead of time.” said An­drew Jol­ley, pres­i­dent of the Ne­vada Dis­pen­sary As­so­ci­a­tion and a store owner. “The pub­lic re­ally only had a cou­ple of weeks’ no­tice, whereas Colorado had a full year to pre­pare.”

Ne­vada vot­ers ap­proved le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational pot in Novem­ber, but reg­u­la­tions needed be­fore the sales could start weren’t ap­proved un­til the past two weeks. The state later this week will re­lease a re­port re­gard­ing the unan­nounced en­force­ment in­spec­tions that were con­ducted Satur­day at dis­pen­saries across the state.

Edi­bles and con­cen­trates

The de­mand for recre­ational mar­i­juana has been such that dis­pen­saries had to turn away cus­tomers in line over the week­end, and at least one ex­tended its hours of op­er­a­tion. Dis­pen­saries re­ported wait times of 45 min­utes to an hour Satur­day af­ter­noon and up to 20 min­utes Sun­day. The Eu­pho­ria Well­ness dis­pen­sary had 50 peo­ple wait­ing to make pur­chases mid­morn­ing Mon­day. Its mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor, Jim Fer­rence, said bud­ten­ders helped at least 1,000 cus­tomers dur­ing the first two days of le­gal recre­ational pot sales.

Cus­tomers on av­er­age bought a quar­ter of an ounce of mar­i­juana flow­ers and a sam­pling of var­i­ous edi­bles and con­cen­trates, Fer­rence said. “Ev­ery­one was calm, cool and col­lected. No un­ruly crowds at all,” he said. Those 21 and older with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of pot. As of Fri­day, the state had li­censed 44 dis­pen­saries to sell recre­ational mar­i­juana. Thirty-nine of those shops are in the Las Ve­gas area. More than 42 mil­lion tourists flock for busi­ness and plea­sure to Las Ve­gas ev­ery year. They along with vis­i­tors to the rest of Ne­vada are ex­pected to make nearly two of ev­ery three recre­ational pot pur­chases in the state.

But peo­ple can only use the drug in a pri­vate home as it re­mains il­le­gal to con­sume it in pub­lic, in­clud­ing the Strip, ho­tels and casi­nos. Vi­o­la­tors face a mis­de­meanor ci­ta­tion and a $600 fine. Fif­teen tourists on Mon­day hopped on a bus for a three-hour tour of dis­pen­saries in the Las Ve­gas area. The “Cannabus” took the vis­i­tors to two stores with whom they have an agree­ment to al­low rid­ers to skip the lines.

The recre­ational mar­i­juana sales did not cause Las Ve­gas po­lice a headache over the week­end. The depart­ment did not de­ploy ad­di­tional of­fi­cers and does not track mis­de­meanor ci­ta­tions, Of­fi­cer Larry Had­field on Mon­day said. “It was busi­ness as usual,” he said. “Ev­ery­thing went smooth as far as we can tell.” The state stands to earn mil­lions from the sales of recre­ational mar­i­juana, but the tax col­lec­tion data won’t be avail­able for sev­eral weeks.

Ne­vada joins Colorado, Ore­gon, Wash­ing­ton and Alaska in al­low­ing adults to buy the drug that’s still banned by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The mar­ket in the Sil­ver State is ex­pected to out­pace all oth­ers in the US, at least un­til Cal­i­for­nia starts its sales. “With all due re­spect to Den­ver, Seat­tle, and Port­land, Las Ve­gas is al­ready the party cap­i­tal of the world, and this is just an ex­ten­sion of that,” Fer­rence said. “There’s no ques­tion that the de­mand is ever go­ing to re­lent.” —AP

LAS VE­GAS: A per­son buys mar­i­juana at the Essence cannabis dis­pen­sary. —AP

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