LAS VEGAS, NV – Not since July 1, 2017, when recreational cannabis sales became legal in Nevada, has the cannabis industry anticipated a day like today. For the first time in Las Vegas, marijuana is legal on 4/20 — the unofficial holiday celebrated by cannabis enthusiasts across the country.
At The Grove dispensary in Las Vegas, April 20th is more than just a day to celebrate marijuana. It’s also the 2nd birthday of the dispensary and the 27th of purchasing manager Tyler Piechowiak.
"It’s cool," Piechowiak said of his birthday coinciding with the biggest day on the stoner calendar. It’s much better now that he’s an adult, he said.
"When you’re younger it’s not cool because obviously your parents know what’s on 4/20, and you’re around your family so that was definitely tough. But everybody else gets to celebrate with me and everybody else celebrates 4/20 so it’s awesome."
The line at The Grove Friday afternoon extended into the parking lot and customers took up every seat on the couches in the waiting room. Inside, recreational customers and medical patients alike were steadily siphoned through.
To prepare, Piechowiak said he wanted to make sure the dispensary’s best seller’s were fully stocked. It helped that some of The Grove’s suppliers were in the holiday spirit, offering wholesale deals.
"A lot of companies, believe it or not, were generous and did some sales, so we were able to stock up," he said. "We work closely with a few specific companies so we basically just order heavy, just make sure we have a sufficient supply of grams, eights, prerolls, everything that usually sells really well."
Store manager Judi Hermosillo said preparations for the holiday began well in advance of the day.
CJ and Roxy, employees at The Grove, work a busy register on 4/20
"Actually it started last week and into this week," she said. "So we had vendors doubling the kinds of orders that we typically would order in a week.
Since this year is the first year marijuana has been legal to purchase for recreational use in Nevada on 4/20, Hermosillo said the only day she can compare it to is when recreational sales opened last July 1.
"We’re a lot more organized now than we were for (the beginning of recreational sales)," she said. We were as organized as we could be, but that was completely blind, there was nothing to compare it to…So this year we’re more prepared."
The dispensary did more than just stock up on supply to prepare for Friday. Hermosillo said all of The Grove’s nearly 40 employees were scheduled to work during one of the 24-hour dispensary’s six shifts on Friday. Hermosillo prepared as well as she could, but noted that it’s hard to prepare for something that’s continuously changing.
"At the same time, everyday more and more people are experiencing recreational marijuana, either for the first time in their life, or the first time in years because its’ finally legal. Everyday there’s more people coming out and trying it," she said.
As marijuana permeates the mainstream more and more each day, Hermosillo said establishments like The Grove have a responsibility to do more than just capitalize on the business side of things. Even more so on days like 4/20.
"I believe that this is our chance to make it socially acceptable, the whole cannabis industry, by celebrating it," she said. "I think this is definitely our chance to make a big deal about it. Especially for us because it is our two-year anniversary, so it’s got a special meaning for us regardless. But definitely — bringing more awareness to the celebration of marijuana as opposed to the prohibition of it."
Images via Lucas Thomas/Las Vegas Patch