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Las Vegas dispensaries prepare for July 1 recreational marijuana sales launch

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 16:09:08-04

Despite uncertainty about whether recreational marijuana sales were going to start July 1, dispensaries are going full puff ahead around Nevada.

The date also happens to be at the beginning of a busy Fourth of July weekend in Las Vegas.

"Vegas in general is very busy for Fourth of July so that's just music to my ears as far as going rec a few days before Fourth of July," said Matt Morgan, CEO of Tryke Companies/Reef Dispensaries. "We'll be able to cater to all those recreational customers as they come into town."

Reef Dispensaries' location on Western Avenue, just west of Las Vegas Strip, is celebrating with fireworks and more with an event late Friday night into Saturday morning. Sales will be begin at midnight. 

The first customer will be state Sen. Tick Segerblom, a leading proponent for marijuana in Nevada.

"I believe it's very iconic to have him as the first client. He helped lead this bill," Morgan said. "He helped push through the whole medical marijuana program through for Nevada. I don't think we'd be where we are today at without him. So I'm more than happy to have him as our first recreational customer."

Hundreds of additional customers are expected early Saturday morning as well as throughout the weekend.

"We are expecting a large crowd," Morgan said. "We heightened our security up. We have as many employees on deck as physically possible."

Many of the recreational customers, all of which need to be 21 and older, are expected to be tourists. Now, while recreational sales will be legal, people can only use marijuana in their homes. That means no casinos or even walking the Strip itself.

As a result, Morgan thinks edibles will be a popular seller, along with vape pens. He also expects sales to remain high throughout the month of July.

"I expect the first few weeks to be a very heavy influx, people coming out of curiosity, people excited to buy recreational cannabis for the first time," Morgan said. "There's going to be a lot of people here for different reasons and purposes."

Like other dispensary owners, Morgan doesn't want medical patients to get lost amidst the new customers. A separate window has been set up for medical users.

Both medical and recreational users can purchase one ounce of marijuana from a dispensary. Recreational customers are only allowed to possess that one ounce at any given time while medical customers can possess 2-1/2 ounces. The rule for edibles is up to 1/8 of an ounce of concentrate.

Existing medical dispensaries are able to sell what supply they have remaining until distribution is sorted out at the state level after an emergency regulation was signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and approved by the Nevada Tax Commission.

"They can sell what they have in their inventory until the distribution piece of the recreational program gets figured out," Morgan said.

Nevada's Taxation Department said the state does intend to appeal a judge's order that says only alcohol wholesalers can obtain pot distribution licenses.

There is a concern that with distribution models being up in the air that supply may run out at existing dispensaries.

"I feel pretty confident that the Department of Taxation will find a resolution shortly. So I'm not overly concerned but to say I'm not concerned at all would be fictitious," Morgan said regarding supply.

Despite the setbacks from the court issues, Morgan is excited to see the recreational program launch.

"Leading up to this, it's been a fun, interesting ride so far," he said. "We're excited, we're very excited to see the day that recreational sales come to light."