Long-time advocates move into legal cannabis frontier
By Patrick Wagner
LAS VEGAS — Marijuana delivery services have typically been seen as the grayest of gray areas, even in states with cannabis-friendly laws.
But as more legislators look at progressive approaches to curbing the black market, states like Oregon, California and Nevada are developing regulated delivery services. Nevada lawmakers recently paved the way for cannabis delivery, and Las Vegas’ first licensed dispensary has embraced the new, legal opportunity.
Company: Euphoria Wellness
Owners: Joe Lamarca and Larry Doyle
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Operations: 20,000-square-feet cultivation facility using metal halide and high-pressure sodium lights; 2,000-square-foot-dispensary
“They appear to be legal, in nature, but they are just not,” he said of the prevalent black market distribution channels. “That’s the transition that we’re trying to make.”
Ferrence and owner Joe Lamarca worked with the Clark County sheriff to ensure Euphoria’s delivery service complied with state law. Specifics like GPS monitoring, a state-approved safe for product storage and a manifest tracking each delivery were just a few of the requirements. Although Nevada dispensaries offer reciprocity to out-of-state patients, deliveries can only be made to Nevada residents at their registered address.
While delivery services are an interesting facet of Euphoria’s operation, the business is set up to capture the tourist market of Las Vegas.
Residing in the most famous gaming city in the world definitely yields some perks when it comes to security — the dispensary has a direct camera feed to the local police department. It’s also created higher expectations for consumer experiences.
“We’re aspiring to be the Nordstrom of cannabis,” Ferrence said. “So you’ll see that in the look of the dispensary and that’s what we’ve aspired to be — high-end, sophisticated, but also safe. Overall we have to be a combination of Nordstrom and Fort Knox.”
The opening of Euphoria Wellness was the culmination of 30 years of advocacy by Lamarca and co-owner Larry Doyle. Lamarca and Doyle knew the process for opening a dispensary in Nevada would be long and drawn out, so they opted to keep the overhead to a minimum. Euphoria Wellness has been able to fund the infrastructure of the cultivation facility through the proceeds of the dispensary.
After the state Legislature determined in 2015 that licensed cannabis businesses could transfer ownership, Euphoria Wellness began actively looking to expand throughout Nevada.
“We immediately went into expansion mode,” Ferrence said. “Every year there is at least another 150,000 out-of-state cardholders that are coming to Las Vegas.”