The State of Nevada Marijuana: An Insider’s Perspective
Week 1 of Recreational Sales; this article is part 1 of a 4-part series.
By: Zed Schlott, The Dispensary, NV
First, a little background: I’ve been working in the Nevada marijuana industry for 18 months. In my current position, I’m heavily involved in all aspects of the retail business. From buying/selling to managing staff, coordinating a budget, providing analytics, marketing, and more; I’ve become a jack-of-all-trades for the industry.
I know that I have much to learn in this new and evolving industry; every day is a new adventure into politics, compliance, regulations, audits, etc. We as an industry are all learning together and I feel like more unity in this growing sector would help everyone. I love new ideas, approaches, and thoughts, on every aspect of this industry and want to hear it from everyone involved, so please, do share your comments and perspectives. We can all better ourselves and our businesses. My goal is to enlighten people to what is going on in this industry outside of what newspapers and news stations report and to do so in a totally unbiased way.
It’s been a week since the sales of recreational started in Nevada. Friday night, several shops opened up around the Vegas area to firework displays, DJ’s and parties, all different kinds of fun and exciting events. We took the simpler approach and didn’t advertise other than on social media, yet we still saw a crowd of over 200 lined up to buy marijuana for the first time legally in Nevada. Besides the long lines, customers were grateful and happy to be able to buy adult-use marijuana for the first time. Huge thanks to all the workers who worked long overtime to ensure a smooth transition! From re-pricing everything in our inventory to accepting every last-minute delivery to beat the July 1st deadline proved to be one of the craziest nights of our lives. Many thanks to all who made it happen!
Over the past 8 days, sales have exploded 5-10 folds per location. Some stores have been more efficient in customer transactions, while others took note of what Colorado and Washington did by creating a system for customers to check in, hang out in a waiting area, and get called in one-by-one to do their shopping; it slows things down, but it helps regulate the comfort of shopping for your first time. Wait times have staggered over 60 minutes at some Reno dispensaries and Las Vegas has seen a large uptick in traffic. On a normal day in Colorado or Washington, the check in/waiting room model can often take 20-30 minutes, so all things considered, 60 minutes for a new state’s program launch is pretty reasonable.
Dispensaries across the entire state are concerned about their inventory levels. Only the stores with large reserves of capital were able to stock up for the launch. This was a gamble for owners all across the state. Right now, I’d be willing to bet they all regret purchasing more before the distribution network opens and a 15% wholesale tax is implanted.
**We all hope within the next couple of days the distribution channels open through Blackbird, the long-standing courier service for dispensaries. The City of Sparks plans to open its dispensaries to recreational sales in the Reno Metro area this weekend, and without a courier service, the stores that have already turned recreational will suffer from having depleted inventory available.
**When this was written, Nevada suffered from a nationally covered supply shortage due to a lack of distribution licenses being awarded, which was remedied when a distribution license was awarded to a local company, Blackbird.
Wholesale prices have skyrocketed out of pure speculation. Growers are eager to see where the market dictates and if their inflated prices constitute the value in margins for dispensaries. Many stores have become vertically-integrated over the last several months and won’t need to rely on product from these outside vendors who do not possess a license to sell, only a cultivation or production license. I’m confident it won’t take long for these cultivations to be dropping their prices to compete with stores that already have their own grows.
This post is part 1 of a 4-part series, The State of Nevada Marijuana: An Insider’s Perspective.
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