After announcements, court battles and the possibility of delays, recreational sales have finally begun in Nevada.
Just after midnight on Saturday morning local time, some medical marijuana dispensaries in the state opened their doors and began selling marijuana to adults for any reason, a result of the passage of Question 2 by Nevada voters last November.
Most of those that opened Saturday morning did so to very long lines, like the 250 to 300 people that were waiting outside Oasis Medical Cannabis in Las Vegas. The Source medical marijuana dispensary had a notable customer leading a long line into its establishment, State Senator Tick Segerblom, who bought a joint of his namesake strain, Segerblom Haze.
The celebration of recreational sales garnered national news coverage, with fireworks and even a cannabis wedding highlighting the festivities.
The new system comes with a big worry however: lack of supply. With the alcohol distributors gearing up to be the official distributors of legal recreational cannabis from the cultivators to the shops, dispensaries now selling to all adults are taking from their current supplies. With supply low and demand skyrocketing with all the new customers entering the market, prices are bound to spike, at least in the beginning.
Those prices will slowly come down as supply increases and the market absorbs the huge new customer base (those who want to buy legal cannabis but don’t have a medical recommendation, which is most cannabis consumers).
Since these are medical dispensaries that are doing the early selling to recreational customers, there is also a worry about patients seeing delays and higher prices as well. Many establishments are letting their medical customers bypass the lines of adult-use customers.
All of this is leading up to the regulating and opening of retail marijuana shops in the state, but for now customers are limited to cash-only sales at certain dispensaries. And depending on how long the alcohol distributors take to get their end moving, supplies of recreational marijuana could run out, leaving customers no choice but to go back to the black market.
Bumps in the road are to be expected, since recreational marijuana sales are a new phenomenon and government officials really have no idea what they are doing. Add this to the fact that many see marijuana as something that needs to be tightly restricted and heavily taxed – to protect consumers from such a dangerous product – and those bumps are likely to get bigger and more numerous before the market begins to settle down.