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Nevada’s First Weekend of Recreational Weed Sales Was a Bigger Success Than Expected

After months of speculation and worry, lines of cannabis customers stretched for blocks all weekend, and cops said there were zero issues with the legal weed rollout.

by Zach Harris

Nevada’s early recreational marijuana sales kicked off at the stroke of midnight on July 1st, and now, after five days of holiday buzz, reports from the front lines of Las Vegas’ new green rush are saying that sales have gone even better than planned, with lines snaking around every dispensary and law enforcement officers reporting zero cannabis-related incidents.

According to the Associated Press, 39 of the state’s 44 dispensaries licensed to sell recreational bud are located in Las Vegas, and Sin City’s locals and tourists alike showed up in droves to take place in the new freedom awarded this Fourth of July. And while legalization naysayers were skeptical about the quick turnaround from voter approval to retail sales, industry insiders are more than pleased with the successful rollout.

“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.”

Even as recently as two weeks ago, a lawsuit in Carson City had most Nevadans expecting an indefinite delay to retail sales thanks to distribution issues brought on by the state’s liquor industry. But even on short notice, Nevada’s stoners took full advantage of everything the newly licensed dispensaries had to offer.

At dispensaries in Las Vegas and surrounding desert towns, snaking lines boasted 45-minute wait times on Saturday, and a 20-minute hold-up on Sunday. With the Fourth of July bookending the long weekend, the lines didn’t stop in the workweek, either. On Monday, the Euphoria Wellness dispensary had 50 people queued up to make morning purchases. 

According to Euphoria Wellness marketing coordinator Jim Ferrence, the dispensary served over 1,000 customers during the opening weekend, with each client purchasing an average of a quarter ounce of bud and a slew of edibles and concentrates. And despite the long lines, summer heat and pounds of product moving out the door, the sales went off without a hitch.

 

 

“Everyone was calm, cool and collected. No unruly crowds at all,” Ferrence said. A sentiment backed up by Las Vegas cops, who opted not to add additional officers to oversee the weekend’s events. 

“It was business as usual,” Las Vegas police Officer Larry Hadfield said. “Everything went smooth as far as we can tell.”

And while distribution issues that could stop dispensaries from re-upping their stock are still in limbo, the immediate success of Nevada’s recreational cannabis industry has Ferrence and other industry insiders already ready to brag.

“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.”


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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