New cultivation facility and dispensary openings are becoming a more common occurrence, with even traditionally conservative states like Illinois, Delaware, 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).
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 cancer patient 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.
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
Tyler Richard, a 14 year old from Nevada, spent the first 13 years of his life dealing with symptoms from his autism and epilepsy.
Going through thousands of seizures every week, some of which were small and some led to his mother, Toni Richard, having to personally give him CPR before calling 911. The dozen medications that he was prescribed were unable to control the negative effects his illnesses had on him.
With the lack of sleep caused by his seizures, Tyler had constant outbursts and dark circles under his eyes. Toni Richard, a teacher at truckee Meadows COmmunity College, spoke about what it was like with Tyler never being able to really sleep:
“In 13 years he maybe slept through the night 50 times. It was like having a newborn forever.”
Toni and Tyler Richard. (Photo: Siobhan McAndrew)
Living in fear that Tyler might run away from the home at night, Toni became accustomed to locking the picket fence surrounding their home, and sometimes she stayed up all night making sure Tyler wouldn’t hurt himself. On occasion, Toni reported that she would even rent a hotel room for a night, having Tyler sleep in the bed while she slept in the hallway hoping for a few peaceful hours of rest.
As his seizures continued to worsen, including causing the right side of his face to go into paralysis and sag, Toni got scared and was looking for a way to help her son.
In 2014, the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center suggested medical marijuana to help Tyler with his seizures and to help him sleep. After hearing about multiple instances where it has helped children, Toni thought it could be beneficial for her son. She told the Reno Gazette Journal,
“The first night we tried it he slept through the night.”
With the help of cannabis oil, Tyler has slept much better, has fewer outbursts and is doing better in school.
The issue Toni has had throughout this process hasn’t been with cannabis directly, but in the manner that she is forced to learn, all on her own, about the best ways to treat her son. Whether it is the appropriate dosage, where to purchase it, or what strain to buy, she has been on her own.
Krista Colletti, a Nevada pediatrician, shared their opinions on medical marijuana during the Nevada disability Conference in July:
“It is a medication we need to know more about,”
Colletti pointed out that families often times are forced to travel to seek advice from specialists on the topic and must deal with issues of federal law if they must resort to bringing cannabis back over state lines to get the proper type and amount.
With the success that children such as Tyler have had with medical marijuana, it seems that it will become a more popular choice for parents trying to help their kids.
A dispensary in Nevada has filed a lawsuit against the state regarding the licensing process of medical marijuana dispensaries in Washoe County.
Washoe Dispensary LLC told the Reno Gazette-Journal that Tryke Companies Reno LLC should not have been awarded two licenses because it breaks the law.
Nevada medical marijuana law limits any one business to 10% of the licenses in any jurisdiction.
Additionally, the lawsuit challenges future plans for three of the five licenses in unincorporated areas – Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, and Crystal Bay. Claiming the state has failed to follow the law allowing local governments to have the ultimate say about where dispensaries would be located.
Washoe County is permitted to have a total of 10 dispensaries; 3 in Reno, 2 in Sparks, and 5 in unincorporated areas. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Washoe Dispensary, applied for a license in the unincorporated Washoe Valley.
“Setting up three dispensaries in Incline Village/Crystal Bay is ridiculous,”
stated Shane Smith, co-owner of Washoe Dispensary.
Smith elaborated, “Having three dispensaries in such close proximity to each other, and to the California state line, seems to indicate the state was either oblivious or catering to the idea of building a medical tourism industry at Tahoe centered around medical marijuana.”
Neither the state of Nevada or Trkye Companies has responded to the lawsuit at this time.
photo credit: thestatehousefile
The NAACP has officially joined the recreational cannabis legalization conversation in Nevada.
The President of the Reno-Sparks NAACP chapter, Jeffery Blanck, recently sent a letter to Nevada legislators urging them to legalize the recreational use of marijuana during the 2015 legislative session. Due to the diligence of Nevada chapter of the NCIA collecting enough signatures on a petition, Nevada lawmakers must choose to legalize recreational marijuana within the first 40 days of 2015. If no decision is made the measure will be placed on the 2016 General Election ballot.
“We’re in almost the top 10 of the states in the nation on spending money and time on enforcement for marijuana possession.”
Like many other areas of the country, Nevada has a high arrest rate relative to african americans and marijuana. The NAACP cites this as the core reason for their support of legalizing marijuana in the state.
“We’re spending, in Nevada, almost $40 million a year, our arrest rate in the past 10 years has gone up 96-percent, and we’re in almost the top 10 of the states in the nation on spending money and time on enforcement for marijuana possession. We could use this money for other things,” stated Blanck
Poker players are known for going all-in on big pots, and that is exactly what Word Poker Tour champion, Phil Ivey, has done with pot of the medical variety. Ivey submitted an application for one of the medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Las Vegas, and out of the fifty-three submitted, his application has made it to the second round of the approval process.
Last week, members of the Las Vegas City Council carefully examined each and every application submitted by hopeful medical marijuana producers and retailers. The examination process lasted two days, and resulted in the first-round approval of twenty-six applications. Applications must now be examined by representatives of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The number of applications that will remain in the approval process is unknown.
The state of Nevada only allocated twelve dispensary licenses for the city of Las Vegas, so it is possible that less than half of the applicants approved in the first round will actually be awarded a license to operate. If that turns out to be the case, there will be over a dozen unhappy applicants losing the non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
Applications passed by the Department of Health and Human Services in the second round of the approval process will still have one more hoop to jump through. The final applicants will be selected by the City Council, from the narrowed down list, during a suitability hearing that will occur sometime after.
photo credit: Dolcevitaonline