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In Nevada, weed deliveries to homes up, hotel rooms out

LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s marijuana industry is ramping up its home delivery service as demand for the drug increases following the legalization of recreational pot in the state earlier this month.

Some recreational consumers ask for delivery simply for convenience, while some medical marijuana customers are physically unable to travel to a dispensary. Regardless of the reason, the industry is planning ahead, adding employees and thinking about expansion opportunities.

“At the end of the day, we’re in the service industry and are going to make sure people can get their cannabis however they want,” Essence dispensary owner Armen Yemenidjian told the Las Vegas Sun. He said 15 of the business’s roughly 20 daily delivery orders are placed by medical marijuana customers, but he is planning to have enough manpower for as many as 80 deliveries by the end of the summer.

Legal recreational marijuana sales began July 1 in Nevada. People can use the drug only in private homes. It remains illegal to light up in public places, including casinos, restaurants and parks.

Companies that are legally delivering the drug meet consumers only at established residential address, avoiding casinos, Las Vegas Strip hotels, parks and parking lots. Drivers carry a limited amount the drug.

Reno-based Blackbird delivers pot from 15 dispensaries to customers’ homes across the state. Its 30 employees make a total of 2,000 weekly deliveries. Founder Tim Conder said he plans to deliver weed from 15 additional dispensaries and double the number of drivers by the end of next month.

“Every dispensary has at least quadrupled in sales volume. Some have gone up 10 times, easily,” said Conder, whose company charges $1 per mile for deliveries, with a minimum order of $10. Deliveries, completed in unmarked cars, are available anywhere within a 25-mile (40-kilometer) radius of a pot shop.

Per Nevada regulations, delivery drivers can transport only up to 10 ounces (284 grams) at once and make multiple deliveries during each trip.

Black market services also are trying to get a piece of the booming business, prompting police to shut down more than 25 illegal delivery operations, authorities said.

Las Vegas police Lt. Sean Toman said those operations often are affiliated with gangs and advertise online.

The people who operate these businesses “know unequivocally that what they’re doing is 100 percent illegal,” Toman said.

Information from: Las Vegas Sun