Reno marijuana dispensaries making big money in first week
Four Reno dispensaries begin sales of recreational marijuana. Jason Bean
The four Reno dispensaries licensed to sell recreational marijuana each raked in "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in the past four days from the state's first legal recreational marijuana sales, according to Will Adler, executive director of the Sierra Cannabis Coalition.
The Nevada Department of Taxation will not release numbers for state revenue from recreational marijuana sales until late September, according to department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein, but industry leaders said sales were on par with expectations for the first week.
Nevada Dispensary Association Executive Director Riana Durrett "very roughly" estimated that Nevada made $1 million from taxes between Saturday and Tuesday, and dispensaries as much as $3 million.
"Naturally, it will drop off because the first day was a novelty," Durrett said. "I think (sales) will stay healthy because this market exists now, and I think people will be relieved to come out of the shadows."
Other states that had legalized recreational pot eclipsed Nevada's estimated numbers.
Oregon dispensaries made $3.2 million on the state's first day of sales and more than $11 million in their first week, according to a 2015 article in Time. Colorado dispensaries made more than $5 million in their first week, although Washington dispensaries didn't make $2 million until four weeks in, the same article said.
On a local level, however, Reno's green team was thrilled.
"Reno had bigger numbers than Las Vegas" per dispensary, said Sierra Cannabis Coalition's Adler. Granted, Reno had four dispensaries partaking in the early start progra, while Las Vegas customers had about 40 to choose from.
"(Customers) were a part of history -- prohibition is over," said Mikel Alvarez, spokesman for Blum, a company which has one dispensary location in Reno and three in Las Vegas.
The Reno location served 1,000 customers and made $100,000 in sales during the first 24 hours, starting at midnight Saturday. The company's three Las Vegas locations brought in $90,000 in their first 24-hour stretch.
Not only did Blum have far more competitors in Las Vegas, but some of the other shops featured everything from celebrity appearances to fireworks.
"That's just not us," said Alvarez.
Mynt, another Reno dispensary, made $300,000 by Tuesday, according to co-owner Joey Gilbert. In its first day, Mynt had 900 customers, with the latter days attracting upwards of 700 people.
"There's been a line all day every day, but it's down to 20 to 30 minutes," Gilbert said. "Sure we're all competitors, but it's good to see everyone doing well."
The Dispensary and Sierra Wellness Connection did not report their sales from the weekend.
Sierra Wellness served 1,200 customers in its first 24 hours, according to Claudio Iturriaga, chief of staff at Sierra Wellness. The Dispensary reported serving 880 customers on Saturday, 950 customers on Sunday and 700 customers on Monday.
"It's been gangbusters. It's more than we expected," said The Dispensary owner Jeff Grossman.
Grossman's staff experienced technology hiccups and now are out of almost every edible except a cannabis-infused drink. He's concerned about the state's ongoing tensions with alcohol distributors, the only entities currently qualified to apply for recreational marijuana distribution licenses.
Because none of them has received a distribution license from the state Department of Taxation, none of the dispensaries is able to receive new shipments of recreational marijuana.
"It's already affected business, not being able to re-stock. This is the game we play, but at least they let us play," Grossman said.