A line of more than 20 people snaked around the corner at Euphoria Wellness in the southwest Valley Monday morning, anxiously awaiting the chance to become the first customers to legally purchase medical marijuana in Las Vegas. “I’m still not quite sure it’s real,” said one patient, who emerged from the store with a half-ounce of Kosher Kush and Cheese purchased for $225.
There were pot-leaf T-shirts and other 420-friendly attire in the crowd, but the crowd was mostly middle-aged or older, patients who’ve waited as long as 15 years to acquire legal, quality-tested medicine.
Medical marijuana was approved by Nevada voters in 2000, but it’s taken lawmakers more than a decade to set up a way for patients to legally acquire it (previously they had to grow their own). Now that medical marijuana has finally arrived in Las Vegas, it might be tempting to call Dr. Reefer so you can score some premium bud from one of the dozens of dispensaries expected to open over the next year. But unless you have a serious medical condition—cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis, severe pain—don’t bother.
Unlike California, where trouble sleeping or a stubbed toe can be enough to qualify for a patient card, Nevada’s laws are some of the strictest in the U.S., allowing prescriptions for only eight specific conditions or symptoms. So while most Nevada residents will be left out of this green rush—at least until voters decide on recreational marijuana in 2016—half a million California patients will be able to shop at Vegas dispensaries whenever they come out for the weekend, thanks to a clause in the law recognizing patient cards from around the country, a surefire way to boost sales for the fledgling industry.