Even though medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Nevada over
15 years ago, residents have not had a legal place to purchase the
cannabis they needed. That all changed on August 1, the day the first
medical marijuana dispensary opened to the public in Nevada.
The Place: Sparks, Nevada
Sparks was the first city to offer a legal medical marijuana dispensary
in the state. The town sits just five miles east of Reno and is home to
an estimated 90,000 people, according to the U.S. Census
Located in a strip mall on East Greg Street, the Silver State Relief
dispensary had a line of 75 people waiting out front before the doors
even opened. Each one came armed with a recommendation from their
physician for the medical use of marijuana.
Other Dispensaries have met with opposition from neighboring businesses
and residents, Clark County has the most people with medical marijuana
cards in the state, but dispensaries there have been bogged down by the
local politics. Despite legalization, the state stalled for over a
decade, though 66 medical marijuana dispensary licenses had been issued.
The general manager of the first dispensary to make it past all the
local roadblocks has
that they spent two years planning the opening. For months, they have
been getting emails and phone calls inquiring about their products. They
received over 150 applications for jobs as well.
Marijuana Safety Precautions
Over 31 percent of patients get relief from the use of medical
marijuana. The sale of the drug had been delayed in the state by local
bureaucracy, in part due to anticipated safety issues with a dispensary.
Nevada law allows state officials to track the medical marijuana
seed-to-sale, in order to prevent abuse of the system or illegal
In addition, the Nevada Department of Agriculture is working on a
process that will allow them to test the plants for 30 to 40 different
pesticides to ensure the product delivered is safe from everyone. The
dispensary works with several labs to test their plants to make sure
they are compliant with state regulations.
Since medical marijuana is not federally approved for use, plants must
be sourced locally. Silver State Relief grows about 200 plants of their
own that they intend to use for future product. Initially, they must
limit how much cannabis customers can buy to 2.5 ounces very 14 days
until they can build up a steady supply of medication.