Recreational marijuana goes on sale in Nevada on Saturday, and local dispensaries are kicking it into high gear, trying to get ready for the flood of new business.

Four locations in Reno received permits from the City and start selling July 1st: 

  • Sierra Wellness Connection, 1605 East 2nd Street: opens at midnight
  • Blüm, 1085 South Virginia Street: opens at midnight
  • The Dispensary, 100 West Plumb Lane: opens at 8:00 a.m. 
  • Mynt, 132 East 2nd Street : opens at 9:00 a.m. 

They don't have much time. The distribution process has been tied up in court battles, so they only found out last week that they would have access to enough product for recreational sales. Now they have to stock up, re-package and re-label, before the big rush on Saturday.

At Blüm Dispensary in Midtown Reno, at least on the surface, the mood is pretty mellow just three days before they anticipate their business to grow 250 percent.

"The whole thought when we created Blüm was with recreational and adult use in mind," Director of Retail Operations Mikel Alvarez said.

They've beefed up their staff, adding 10 full-time employees, and updated their training. They're also stocking up on the goods.

"There's been a run on product from every dispensary in Nevada," Alvarez said, "trying to get product in before the Friday deadline."

Recreational business will be a little different. There's a one ounce or 100 milligram limit on recreational sales and an extra excise tax. But Alvarez said the process will run just like their medical sales, which means a check-in at the front desk, two separate waiting areas, and multiple levels of security before the customer even sees any marijuana.

"This is the bud bar," Alvarez said during a tour of the facility. "Patrons and patients will come into this room and meet one-on-one with the 'budtender.' It's not just a free-for-all, like, here you go. We actually take the time to educate people on what cannabis is and how it does help you."

Nearby, a "budtender" explained the variety of products to a medical customer.

"It's like a medicated Kool-Aid, like a juice drink," he explained, holding a bottle of dark, black cherry-flavored liquid. "Each cap-full is how you dose it."

They think a lot more people will be drinking that Kool-Aid. Along with the casual users and the curious, he also expects a lot of "phantom patients," those who want marijuana products for medical purposes, but didn't want to register and be tracked under the previous medical system. Alvarez said many of those are veterans, who fear repercussions from marijuana use since it is still illegal at the federal level.

All the frenzied ordering is putting a strain on the line of distribution.

"A lot of the cultivators and production companies are running out of product, so we are placing our orders. A few more gray hairs have come out of it," Alvarez said, laughing. "But other than that, we believe that we have that part secured by our distributor that we are working with."

And not a moment too soon.

"We've actually had patients call, or patrons I guess, call, and see if they can queue up beforehand and camp out the night before," Alvarez said, "so they could be here first thing, 9 a.m."

Alvarez said they are still deciding whether they'll actually let people camp out. But in the meantime, he wanted to assure medical patients that they don't need to worry about the lines. Blüm's medical patients will be automatically served ahead of any recreational customers.

He also had a reminder for recreational customers: remember to bring your ID to prove that you're over 21.