Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2018

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Las Vegas dispensaries expecting big crowds for 420 marijuana celebration

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John Locher / AP

In this Saturday, July 1, 2017, file photo, people line up at the NuLeaf marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas.

Long lines are expected at Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries on Friday, the first 420 marijuana holiday in Nevada since recreational sales became legal.

Roy Bingham, CEO of the Colorado-based BDS Analytics marijuana research firm, said sales surged 220 percent on April 20 last year at dispensaries in Colorado and Washington.

The day — both the date 4/20 and the time 4:20 are associated with marijuana — has become an informal holiday in the weed culture where people use and celebrate cannabis.

Bingham, whose company tracks and analyzes sales data from about 20 of Nevada’s 62 marijuana dispensaries, expects a similar spike in business here.

“The sales should pick up one or two days before 4/20 and continue one or two days after 4/20,” Bingham said. “It’s a special day for the cannabis industry and people who love marijuana.”

Andrew Jolley, owner of The+Source Dispensary and president of the Nevada Dispensary Association, said his dispensary will be giving away a pound of marijuana flower through promotions Friday and projected record sales.

“I predict it will be bigger than July 1,” Jolley said, referring to the date recreational sales in Nevada became legal. “But it’s still hard to say.”

Leaders of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe are also anticipating a big day at Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace, located on tribal land just north of downtown Las Vegas. The 15,500-square-foot dispensary, which serves as many as 2,000 clients a day, expects sales Friday to more than double, said Nuwu spokesman and partner Kevin Clock of Cascade Strategic Investments.

Buyers are still prohibited by state law from consuming marijuana anywhere except at private residences, meaning people who want to smoke or eat their weed products must wait until they get home, Metro Police Officer Larry Hadfield said.

Smoking outside dispensaries, at casinos or in parked cars could result in a $600 fine.

Driving under the influence of marijuana can earn drivers a DUI count with a fine of $600 to $1,000 and possible jail time, Hadfield said.

Metro said officer assistance for crowd and traffic control, similar to that sought for grand openings of popular restaurants, had not been requested by dispensaries. No police assistance was requested for the July grand openings, either.

North Las Vegas Police Officer Aaron Patty said his department also hadn’t received any such requests.