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.
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 Bureau. 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 stated 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.
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 distribution.
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.