Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries adjust during pandemic, coming back strong

December 9, 2020, Las Vegas Sun, by By Bryan Horwath, Before the coronavirus pandemic, the two Curaleaf-owned dispensaries in Las Vegas didn’t focus much on delivery. Delivery options for customers were sporadic at best, said Mark Russ, president of the cannabis company’s Western U.S. operations. Since COVID-19, however, that’s all changed. Today, Curaleaf is making about 1,000 deliveries a month in Las Vegas. It’s an example of how the marijuana industry has had to change on the fly in a time filled with challenges nobody would have predicted, Russ said. “It’s been a rocky road, although we continue to see improvement month over month in our stores and in our wholesale business in Nevada,” Russ said. Though dispensaries were forced to temporarily close in the spring at the outset of the coronavirus crisis, the industry in Southern Nevada has come back strong.

According to the Nevada Department of Taxation, $76.7 million was spent on recreational and medical cannabis products in September. That’s up almost $20 million from September 2019, before the pandemic.

“Our delivery has really expanded,” Russ said. “We’re delivering all the way to Summerlin and Henderson now. We probably should have been doing some of these things before the pandemic, but we’re doing them now. Some of the changes have allowed us to grow sequentially, and I’m really proud of that.”

Brandon Wiegand, regional general manager for The Source and its two Las Vegas dispensary locations, stopped short of saying that the industry is back to normal. But things are headed in the right direction, he said.

“I’ve been saying that we’re crawling back to normal,” said Wiegand, a board member of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “I know some operators have seen an increase in business and, overall, the market has seen some growth. There’s been some new dispensaries opening, too, which has helped with that. I think most of us are feeling better than we were in April and May.”

The low point for the industry came in April, when Nevada recorded about $42 million in recreational and medical marijuana sales.

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