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Las Vegas' First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens

Monday marked the unofficial opening of Clark County’s first legal medical marijuana dispensary.

Euphoria Wellness hosted politicians and media outlets before their soft opening for a tour of the facility, and it was a moment that was years in the making, one that dozens of other businesses in the valley are still dreaming of.

The Nevada legislature voted to allow dispensaries and commercial growing in 2013, but a long wait for Las Vegas area dispensaries has ensued.

Larry Doyle is the co-owner of Euphoria Wellness. He said the opening went smoothly and patients were happy.  

"We're all very pleased," Doyle said. 

Doyle said he, like most people, had a vision of medical marijuana users as being stoners or someone from an old Cheech and Chong movie. However, he said that is not the case. Doyle said he is happy to be helping people battling serious illnesses. 

"You really get a sense of feeling good when you see you can help these people," Doyle said.

He said his dispensary has helped all kinds of patients from veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to a 92-year-old man with prostate cancer.

Pot dispensaries were approved months ago, but it has taken months for dispensaries to open.

Doyle said part of the problem was independent labs that tested the medication weren't ready to roll until late spring. Also, there has been a struggle with cultivation and the regulation process took longer than most people thought.

"We're all getting through this together and there is a learning environment for government and regulators as well business operators," Doyle said.

Right now, Euphoria Wellness has six strains of marijuana but no edibles and no infused products. Each strain treats different kinds of symptoms and has different side effects. 

Doyle hopes to have more selection as cultivation ramps up and they have an understanding of what patients want.

"Once our cultivation site does open,...we'll have had by then three or four months of dispensary operation so we'll better understand what our patients are trying to achieve by using cannabis and we'll focus our strain growth on those needs," he said.

Doyle said the process to get a card is not as easy as most people may think. First, many physicians won't write a prescription for the cards. Second, getting a card can take up to 90 days and now, some people are claiming they can cut down that time by issuing temporary cards, which Doyle said are not valid in Nevada. 

"Patients beware," he said "And do your homework."

The business of medical marijuana is still a cash only one, because the drug is still considered illegal by the federal government, which means banks do not want to get involved in opening business accounts for dispensaries.

"Right now, it's a cash operation and that presents dangers to both the patients and facilities," Doyle said.

There are efforts on the federal and state levels to change the rules and make it safer for everyone but currently it is cash only.

Larry Doyle, co-owner, Euphoria Wellness

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.
Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)