Nevada recreational marijuana market harming MMJ businesses

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Nevada’s fledgling recreational marijuana market has led to significant cannabis price hikes that may be hurting the state’s medical MJ industry.

Medical marijuana prices “have almost doubled” in parts of Nevada, raising concerns that unaffordable medical cannabis may force patients to the illicit market, according to Las Vegas TV station KTNV.

Emily Wilson, an MMJ patient, told KTNV she knows patients who have stopped going to dispensaries and are turning to the black market because of higher medical cannabis prices.

Lissa LaWatsch, the general manager of Las Vegas’ ReLeaf Dispensary, acknowledged to the TV station her business has seen a “decrease” in MMJ business.

ReLeaf and other Nevada dispensaries are trying to keep medical customers from the black market by offering incentives such as letting patients go to the front of retail lines and making sure products that patients are reliant upon are readily available, according to KTNV.

According to research by Cannabis Benchmarks – which provides wholesale marijuana pricing data – the average price in Nevada for a pound of wholesale marijuana increased by $350 in the first week of July, when the state’s recreational market got up and running.

The price hikes were the result of an inventory shortage caused by the unexpected popularity of Nevada’s early start rec program. And to get the adult-use program off the ground by July 1 required an emergency regulation that permitted rec retailers to sell product remaining from existing MMJ supplies.