With its plush white chairs and sunlight streaming through the windows, the waiting room at Inyo Fine Cannabis looks inviting.
But before getting a seat in one of those comfy chairs, you have to be buzzed through two separate security doors and show your driver’s license and a state-issued medical marijuana patient card.
Inyo, which opens Thursday, becomes the second marijuana dispensary in Clark County. And like other businesses in Nevada’s emerging legal pot industry, it has built in several layers of security to deter robberies and break-ins.
The first Clark County dispensary was Euphoria Wellness in the southwest valley, which opened in August. Besides Inyo, two others have gotten their final state approvals but aren’t yet open, said Pam Graber, a spokeswoman for the state’s medical marijuana program.
The openings come after months of delays that frustrated business owners and patients.
“I think we actually have finally turned the corner,” said state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who sponsored the bill to allow dispensaries.
Inyo’s 3,000-square-foot shop, which is about a mile off the Las Vegas Strip, is next to a Smith’s and faces East Sahara Avenue. One of its owners is David Goldwater, a lobbyist and former Democratic assemblyman who grew up in Las Vegas.
During a tour of the shop on Wednesday, Goldwater said it’s an exciting time to be in the marijuana business in Nevada: “It’s growing. It helps people.”
The owners expect a balance of tourist traffic — under Nevada law, shops can sell to people with marijuana cards from other states — and local customers.
After parking and walking up to the front door, a customer will be buzzed into a small security vestibule between two doors. The area is also nicknamed a “man trap,” since one door won’t open until the other is closed.
The customer will put his license and patient card into a scanner that shows images of them on an employee’s computer screen inside. When the person has been verified as an eligible patient, he’ll be buzzed through the second door into the lobby, where he’ll meet with a “concierge.”
In the lobby are computers for research and printouts about how marijuana can help people with chronic pain or conditions including multiple sclerosis and HIV.
When the staff is ready, the patient will go through a third locked door into the “medicine room,” where — unlike in the lobby — the windows are shaded.
Two or three patients at a time can be there, each helped by an employee behind a glass counter where the marijuana is kept. Elsewhere, they’re called budtenders; in Nevada, the state prefers antiseptic terms along the lines of “patient consultant.” Whatever they’re called, they help the customer choose what to buy.
People can look at and sniff samples of various strains. Choices include Kosher Kush — yes, the seeds are actually blessed by a rabbi — Snow Dog and Platinum Blue Dream.
People can buy a gram, an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) or a quarter-ounce (seven grams), with prices of about $16 to $20 per gram or $100 for a quarter-ounce. They can also buy a pre-rolled joint for about $16. Most of the marijuana comes prepackaged in black screw-top jars that look like giant pill bottles.
Once producers are up and running, edible products and concentrates will likely be more popular. Goldwater said one of his co-owners has joked the only people still smoking marijuana in five or 10 years will be “aging hippies.”
After paying, customers will exit through a separate door instead of back through the lobby. They can have a security guard walk them to their cars if they like.
At night, cash and drugs are locked in the dispensary’s safe, which is in a reinforced back room behind, yes, yet another lock. And there’s video surveillance of the entire shop, inside and out.
Contact Eric Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-550-9229. Find him on Twitter: @ethartley