New magazine wants to Elevate medical marijuana conversation

A year after his mother died from cancer, Guy Bertuzzi decided to create the magazine he wished she could have read.

There are other publications in Las Vegas covering marijuana. One features a green plant-monster and the phrase “Smokin’ With the Stars” on its cover this month.

Bertuzzi’s new monthly magazine, Elevate, is going for something different. Its debut issue, which launched this week, has a clean design not unlike an airline magazine’s — not a bong or a “420” reference in sight.

It covers cannabis and marijuana as medicine, not as an enjoyable vice. The first cover story is about local chef Kerry Simon’s use of the drug to fight multiple system atrophy, a degenerative disease.

Editor Beth Schwartz said she wants Elevate to help “remove the stigma” and make people take medical marijuana more seriously.

Bertuzzi’s mother, a longtime smoker who got lung cancer, was facing a second round of treatment after the cancer returned about two years ago. She refused to go through the pain and nausea of radiation or chemotherapy again.

Bertuzzi suggested his mother try to relieve the symptoms with edible products containing cannabis. Not only wouldn’t she consider it, he recalled, but she was angry he even suggested it. To his mother and many of her generation, Bertuzzi said, marijuana was a drug, plain and simple — no different from heroin or crystal meth.

Without treatment, she died a short time later, in August 2013.

Late last year, with the state just having approved the first marijuana dispensaries, Bertuzzi left his sales manager job at Greenspun Media Group to found Elevate. He said he wants to show the “real faces” of people who use cannabis as medicine.

About 30,000 copies are planned for each edition.

A digital version of the magazine and a list of where print copies can be found are at elevatenv.com.

Contact Eric Hartley at ehartley@reviewjournal.com or 702-550-9229. Find him on Twitter: @ethartley

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