By John Schroyer
After multiple delays, the first Nevada medical cannabis dispensary will open for business on Friday…unless there’s another unexpected setback, of course.
Silver State Relief – located in the town of Sparks, just northeast of Reno – is planning to begin serving patients at 10 a.m. Friday. The dispensary is far from the state’s tourism and population center of Las Vegas, but employees are bracing for a big crowd.
“We’re expecting it to be a little insane,” said Aron Swan, Silver State’s general manager. “We’re expecting 100-150 patients potentially on Friday. With as many calls and interest as we’re getting, we’re expecting a lot.”
Swan said that due to a lack of inventory, Silver State will be limiting customers to a half-ounce of flower at a time. The dispensary won’t have much in the way of product, with no edibles or extracts available, though it will have some pre-rolls for sale.
The initial inventory likely won’t last for long.
“We’re certain we’re going to run out in probably two weeks. Our own harvest won’t be ready for another 45-50 days,” Swan said.
Silver State looked to home growers to stock its beginning inventory and was able to navigate around hurdles other dispensaries hoping to open have encountered with that strategy, Swan said.
“From each grower, we can buy 12 plants, so total we’ve got about 14 pounds,” Swan said.
To begin with, the dispensary will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week, but closed on Sunday. The dispensary will only be able to accept cash for transactions at first but hopes to be able to accept debit cards before long.
“Congratulations to Silver State Relief. I’m excited to see if their doors actually open,” Connor said, alluding to the fact that Silver State had planned to open on July 13, but had to push the date back because it couldn’t get lab testing results for MMJ product in time.
Swan said the company received its results late Tuesday night and had enough time to plan for the Friday opening.
Connor said if the opening comes to pass, it’ll be a milestone for the state’s industry.
“The opening of the first MMJ dispensary in Nevada is a big step in the right direction, and I think it will basically be a floodgate, where we’ll see several other licensed dispensaries coming on in the next few months, hopefully enough to meet patient needs,” Connor said.
There are approximately 9,000 MMJ cardholders in Nevada, and the state also has a “reciprocity” provision in its law that allows out-of-state visitors who have MMJ cards in their home states to purchase cannabis. Connor said that based on trends in other states, the number of registered Nevada customers will likely see a big boost once product is actually available for purchase.
The industry’s big challenge is to consistently provide the market with quality product, which could be an issue in the early days given the lack of inventory.
“We don’t need dispensaries to open and not be able to serve the patient needs,” Connor said. “That’s always been the goal of the regulators and the industry.”
John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]