Nevada residents racked with pains and disorders have another option to costly pharmaceutical drugs and procedures: a legal dose of marijuana.
Patients filled the lobby last Friday for the opening of Silver State Relief, a new clinic on east Greg Street in Sparks that specializes in selling medical marijuana.
Smoking marijuana for fun is illegal in Nevada. But sparking up a joint for medical use became legal in Nevada in 2000 thanks to a measure approved by voters. Obtaining the leafy herb was difficult for chronic pain sufferers, however. They had to grow their own or obtain it through other means.
Nevada changed that, with the Legislature approving a bill in 2013 to make medical-marijuana dispensaries legal, paving the way for Aron Swan, general manager of Silver State Relief, and his team to open the state’s first marijuana dispensary.
After two years of planning, the clinic sells and grows its own medical marijuana. It even harvests the cannabis at a nearby facility. Because the clinic is selling marijuana for medical purposes, supplies are rigorously tested by a third-party laboratory to prevent contaminations, pesticides or heavy metals.
The clinic sells six different types of marijuana. Popular brands include: Blue Dream, Skunk One and Purple Kush. Prices start at $12 for half of a gram up to almost $200 for a half-ounce. Patients cannot possess more than 2 1/2 ounces in a single 14-day period. Patients must have a medical marijuana card, background check and documentation from a doctor and the local DMV to complete the application process. They then meet with a clinic representative to help form what type of medical marijuana treatment might work best for them. Patient disorders range from cancer, MS, PTSD, seizures and chronic pain.
“Because we’re selling marijuana, many people have this perception that the clinic will attract nothing but 20-year-old stoners,” Swan said. “But the truth is that most of the patients are over 40-years-old from a wide range of backgrounds. It’s very rewarding and emotional just being able to help those in pain. “
Swan said the clinic will gain more acceptance from patients seeking accessibility to marijuana now that it’s legal,
“What’s different about us is that we’re a dispensary, not a smoke shop,” he said. “We provide a very safe and secure environment.”
Swan said that another reason patients turn to marijuana for medicine is to avoid side effects common with prescription drugs.
One of the greatest challenges he and his staff have is making sure the clinic has enough cannabis supply for its patients each day.
He said that he is happy with the clinic’s Sparks industrial location on Greg Street because it’s away from schools and houses to help prevent loitering.
“We’ve received zero complaints since we’ve been here,” Swan said. “I think it’s because we’re new and the building looks very professional.
“I realize that this type of business is not for everyone, but at least people in the area will know that we’re here if they need us.”