For my birthday this year, I went to Vegas. Specifically, I went to a heavy metal festival in Nevada, a state in which both medical and recreational marijuana (cannabis) is now legal. So in between sets of loud, heavy riffage, I made my way to a dispensary off the Strip to see what the experience was like.
Although I’ve written about cannabis a fair amount over the past several years and have had plenty of first-hand experience with it, I hadn’t ever been able to purchase it in a, uh, legit setting. My only previous experience with a dispensary was waiting outside of a somewhat dingy looking one in San Francisco—where medical marijuana has been legal since 1996—for a friend to grab me some of the most potent cookies I’d ever tried. (Seriously, two cookies lasted me the entire summer.) So I was eager to find out what the inside of a dispensary would be like, especially since the legislation in Las Vegas was much more recent than that in California and I imagined a lot had changed.
Cannabis was legalized in Nevada for medical use in 2000 and adult (recreational) use in 2016.
Although medical use sales didn’t start until 2015, adult use sales officially kicked off on July 1, 2017—and the state promptly ran into a cannabis shortage less than a week later. However, it’s important to point out that previous policies affected some communities far more deeply than others. And, even in states that have legalized