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Dispensaries open to high demand in Nevada as recreational marijuana sales beginning

Posted at 8:17 PM, Jun 30, 2017

Hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts waited outside a number of dispensaries that opened at midnight on Saturday to mark the beginning of legal recreational marijuana sales in Nevada.

There were between 250 and 300 people outside Oasis Medical Cannabis when the doors opened at the stroke of midnight.

Employees let people in about a dozen at a time, with owners saying the turnout exceeded their expectations.

Hours away from the start of legal recreational marijuana sales in Nevada, some are already raising questions about the laws of supply and demand. They are wondering what, if anything, will be done to prevent price gouging at dispensaries.

Medical marijuana has been on the menu for about a year at Sahara Wellness. At 12:01 a.m. Saturday, it will be legal for recreational use, too.

"Even though it's becoming recreational we want to make sure that our patients are taken care of," said Brenda Gunsallus, co-owner of Sahara Wellness.

Gunsallus said she has made treating people her top priority, and said that won't change.

"The tax rate is a little bit higher for the recreation, and we feel like we try and keep the prices here so people can afford their medicine," said Gunsallus. "That was our goal as a group."

With recreational marijuana up for sale, the demand for product is high. The law says marijuana has to be grown, packaged, and sold in state, which puts a lot of demand on our state's supply. Trying to keep the cost down for patients is key for many dispensaries.

"With the demand going up, the supply has gone down because dispensaries are taking a lot of possession and stocking up for tomorrow and so they price has also seen an increase as much as about a $1,000 a pound," said Mikel Alvarez, director of retail operations for Terra Tech Corp, which owns Blum Dispensaries.

Blum has four dispensaries, so Alvarez said they are using their purchasing power to try and get a good price. Both Alvarez and Gunsallus said they are going to continue to put medical clients first.

"Patients will always bypass the queue, will be serviced before our rec users, our adult users because we want to make sure our patients are getting taken care of and they're not waiting for their medicine," Alvarez said. 

The state just passed legislation to make medical cards less expensive. Gunsallus, and others like her, hope this will give people who use marijuana as medicine greater access.