Off to Lake Tahoe? You can buy weed at the lake now
Four Reno dispensaries begin sales of recreational marijuana. Jason Bean
The Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is finally diving into recreational marijuana sales this week while the California side waits patiently on the opposite shore.
NuLeaf, a medical marijuana dispensary that opened its Incline Village location in July last year, will be the first Tahoe-area dispensary to sell recreational marijuana products starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5.
"It's beautiful how Lake Tahoe is, and cannabis can be part of that healthy, active lifestyle," said Sean Luse, chief operating officer of the dispensary.
The 2,500 square-foot dispensary, located at 877 Tahoe Blvd., is just outside the California boundary. It sits at the center of Incline Village, a wealthy Nevada-side community set among the pines and overlooking the teal, emerald waters of Lake Tahoe.
Since opening a year ago, the dispensary has served a mixed clientele of locals and tourists because Nevada marijuana dispensaries are able to accept out-of-state medical cards.
Like many dispensaries in Nevada, most of which are in areas heavily trafficked by tourists, NuLeaf's leadership is hopeful that Nevada will eventually figure out a place for tourists to consume cannabis.
"That's still a big missing part of the equation," he said.
Currently, consumption is only legal within a private residence. Most tourists, for that reason, usually purchase inconspicuous products such as vape pens and edibles, according to Luse.
From a business point of view, NuLeaf is enthused to be opening before California competitors within a stone's throw.
California is still putting together regulations for the recreational marijuana industry even though, like Nevada, voters passed a ballot measure in November legalizing recreational marijuana as of this year. While the Silver state began sales in July, the neighboring Golden State is not expected to begin sales until 2018.
"We will be serving the entire lake market on our own for now," Luse said.
Granted, the dispensary is a month behind the opening of dispensaries in the Reno area, which saw dispensaries opening on the July 1 state kickoff of legal sales. NuLeaf's Las Vegas location also opened during the kickoff, but, because Washoe County did not pass a county ordinance pertaining to recreational marijuana until late last month, dispensaries in unincorporated areas were not eligible to sell recreational product until now.
"It's not the first day, but it's definitely going to be big," Luse said.
Prices have also risen since retail sales began, in part thanks to the additional wholesale tax now applied to all marijuana in state and the additional 10 percent sales tax for recreational marijuana. The price hikes are also thanks to the high demand and recently inconsistent supply.
At NuLeaf, a pre-roll, or a joint, costs about $15 and an ounce (about 28 joints) ranges between $250 and $350. Certain products only are available to medical patients, and most are cheaper for medical patients. Medical patients also will be given preference should there be lines at the dispensary, Luse said.
If you go
What: NuLeaf dispensary
Where: 877 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village
When: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 (recreational sales begin); store hours as of Sunday, Aug. 6 will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week