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Marijuana Commerce Blossoms, But Challenges Abound
As marijuana prohibition falls in one state after another, cannabis sales are shifting from street corners to storefronts as opportunists line up to cash in on what optimists say is the biggest investment opportunity since the dot-com boom of the turn of the century.
Investors of all varieties are starting to look at marijuana as less of a stoner's fad and more of a serious business venture. The industry totaled $2.66 billion in U.S. sales in 2014, up 74 percent from $1.53 billion the year before, according to the ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment network.
Business insiders said they expect the market to expand to many times its present size as more states legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
Already the cannabis trade has not only brought in millions for dispensary owners and cultivators, it's also created a thriving ancillary market, driven job growth and boosted property values, marijuana advocates claim.
First marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas area opening Monday
Fifteen years after medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada, Clark County’s first retail dispensary plans to open to the public Monday.
Euphoria Wellness, 7780 S. Jones Blvd., will begin selling to patients at 10 a.m. Monday. To help contend with expected high demand, only 250 people who have pre-registered will be allowed to buy marijuana and cannabis-infused products on each of the first two days.
On Wednesday, the dispensary will be open to any licensed cardholder, of which there are about 9,500 statewide. Medical marijuana cardholders from other states also will be able to shop at Nevada dispensaries.
Nevada voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000, but no system for distributing the drug through retail outlets was set up, meaning patients had to grow their own marijuana. In 2013, the Legislature approved new laws allowing for marijuana dispensaries, growing facilities and testing labs.
The opening of Euphoria Wellness has been two years in the making after repeated delays because of bureaucratic red tape and trouble acquiring cannabis to sell in the store.
The dispensary passed its inspections and initially wanted to open earlier this year, but a clash with county regulators over a plan to acquire its initial supply of marijuana from cardholders who had grown their own plants led to a deadlock that kept the store closed .
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