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September 18, 2021

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Dispensaries: Nevada should let us offer curbside pickup permanently

budtender

Richard Vogel / AP

In this Thursday, April 16, 2020 photo, wearing a protective mask and gloves, budtender Alexi Ezdrin attends to a customer with curbside service at The Higher Path cannabis dispensary in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles. Nevada has allowed curbside pickup at its dispensaries to help limit the spread of COVID-19. 

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s marijuana dispensaries have found that offering curbside pickup during the pandemic has been beneficial for business and convenient for customers, and are asking lawmakers to make that method of distribution permanent.

The state’s temporary allowance of curbside pickup was approved to help limit the virus spread. It’s worked so well that dispensary owners will urge lawmakers during the ongoing legislative session to allow curbside pickup of marijuana to become permanent.

“It’s become a really popular feature with both dispensaries and, especially, the customers,” said Layke Martin, the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association.

Curbside pickup for dispensaries was authorized in April under Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency declaration one month into the pandemic. Without a legislative fix, the curbside option would expire when the emergency declaration does.

The state Department of Taxation, which regulates the industry, issued guidelines for dispensaries to qualify to offer curbside. They include: Orders must be placed in advanced and customers can’t leave the vehicle for a transaction; minors can’t be in the customer’s vehicle; business must have designated parking spots for curbside customers; and each dispensary needs an individual blessing from the state to offer the service.

Making curbside pickup permanent would be a benefit to customers who are elderly or have mobility issues, Martin said.

“For us, it’s been really nice that we’ve had an alternative (for) people who don’t want to wear masks and come into the store,” said Jon Marshall, the chief operating officer of Deep Roots Harvest.

Legal recreational marijuana sales launched statewide in 2017 and dispensary owners — like in any business — are still managing best practices. David Goldwater, the co-owner of Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary, said that customers having the option to shop online and come to the business for pickup has been so convenient that it’s worth keeping.

More important, Goldwater said that the industry has shown it could do curbside pickup “efficiently and effectively.”

Goldwater said about 10% of Inyo's product is distributed through curbside sales. At Deep Roots, it’s 5%.

“If they can get our products and get them safely, I think we’ve proven that it can be a good thing,” Goldwater said. “The industry rose to the occasion.”

Concerns about making curbside permanent are “you don’t know your customers (or) you might be selling to minors,” he said. But he says the safeguards, such as not allowing minors in the vehicle during a pickup, provide protection to dispensaries.

Curbside isn’t the only method of delivery that is debuting at some Las Vegas-area shops.

The Clark County Commission in August authorized drive-thru windows at dispensaries. The city of Las Vegas is considering a similar ordinance after a recent proposal from Councilwoman Michele Fiore.