Downtown Is Slowly Becoming a Green Light District

By Launce Rake

The voters have spoken. Not once, but three times, for cannabis in Nevada: once to allow medical marijuana, again a few years later to finally allow dispensaries to sell various forms of the drug as medicine and finally, in an affirmation of Nevada’s libertarian soul, to allow adults to use recreational marijuana.

And where better to buy and sell weed than in the urban heart of Las Vegas, a place where galleries, bars and restaurants have already carved out a colony that could be a cousin to hip neighborhoods in Denver or Portland? A lot of people, some of them with visions more Wall Street than Woodstock, are betting that Downtown Las Vegas will soon be a destination for cannabis consumers from around the world.

Of course, people smoke marijuana all over Nevada, but only the largely urban Clark and Washoe counties—two of Nevada’s 17—actually had a majority of voters support recreational use. The rural counties voted against the measure, but the much larger populations of metropolitan Las Vegas and Reno contributed to a healthy 54 to 46 percent margin statewide.

“Parts of Downtown Las Vegas originated as a red-light district of sorts,” he says. “To this day, Downtown carries this certain character that harkens back to a ‘real Las Vegas.'” – Tarek Tabsh, New Amsterdam Naturals

Within the city of Las Vegas, there is already a growing industry in medical marijuana prescriptions and sales. Many of the city’s dispensaries are either Downtown or very close to it, including a gaggle of them in what some are calling the “cannabis corridor” just west of Naked City, the venerable residential district near the Stratosphere.

Tarek Tabsh co-founded New Amsterdam, a dispensary ensconced in the 800 block of South Third Street. The neighborhood still shows signs of the seedy area it recently was, but it is changing, and Tabsh’s dispensary is part of the transformation. “Parts of Downtown Las Vegas originated as a red-light district of sorts,” he says. “To this day, Downtown carries this certain character that harkens back to a ‘real Las Vegas,’ a place that’s distinct from the Strip.” Sometimes that meant prostitutes, hustlers and drug dealers, but there’s clearly a different vibe to the neighborhood today. The store’s goal, Tabsh explains, is to put customers in a different, positive mindset. When you enter New Amsterdam, he says, “You are leaving the familiar. Just being in the waiting room, you’re going out of this world.”

Tabsh thinks the changes in the neighborhood will accelerate when the regulated-marijuana law comes into effect. “Downtown is begging for development and revitalization,” he says. “If Downtown becomes a beacon for cannabis, it will catalyze more development.” Instead of a red-light district, Tabsh envisions a green-light neighborhood. “Las Vegas will become the world’s showroom for cannabis,” he says. “I couldn’t think of a better place to do it than Downtown Las Vegas. It is separated from the family-oriented environment of the Strip … but it caters to the locals and visitors.”

“This is the beginning of a really big movement, not just an economic movement, but the beginning of a different type of industry. … ” – Leslie Bocksor, investor and consultant

Another man bullish on the cannabis-related opportunities for Downtown is Leslie Bocskor, an investor and consultant who works on Fourth Street, a stone’s throw from several dispensaries. He sees a lot of investment and changes coming to the urban core, and cannabis is an ingredient in that evolution.

“It’s going to be a very big positive,” Bocskor says of the regulated marijuana law. Just the presence of more foot traffic in the Downtown area will improve the neighborhood and contribute to ancillary business success and development, he predicts. “There’s going to be hiring and job fairs around this,” Bocskor says. “Over the next three or four years, it’s going to be one of the biggest creators of jobs in the state.”

“We’re going to look back at this moment as a key turning point for the state and the country,” he says. Reduced incarceration and tax revenue from taxing cannabis sales will benefit local and state government and taxpayers, and the dollars going to cannabis will stay in Nevada rather than going to out-of-state or foreign drug cartels. “When you look at all of those things combined, nobody has any idea how substantive the nexus of all those effects would be. This is the beginning of a really big movement, not just an economic movement, but the beginning of a different type of industry,” Bocskor says, “in which values are a more important part of the decision-making process than sheer profitability. This will be showing people there there’s another way to do business.”

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin, who represents much of Downtown, is one of the four council members (out of seven) who have medical-marijuana dispensaries in their districts. He emphasizes that the law is not about “recreational” marijuana, but “regulated” cannabis, as alcohol is regulated.

Zoneil Maharaj | Vegas Seven

Willie Nelson launched his Willie’s Reserve marijuana brand in Nevada with a party at Downtown’s Exile on Main Street boutique.

Coffin, who served more than a quarter-century in the Nevada Senate and Assembly before being elected to the City Council in 2011, says he believes that the new law could be implemented a lot faster on the local level than by state regulators. “If we don’t have too many restrictions on us, we can probably do this a lot quicker,” he says. “The problem is that the Legislature would take quite a lot of time to set that up … It’s better to start just moving forward.”

Downtown and nearby neighborhoods are a natural place for the cannabis industry to develop because most people who live in the area are relatively easygoing about lifestyles and businesses, Coffin says.

Of course, the cannabis industry still faces real challenges, whether in Downtown Las Vegas or rural Clark County. Some local officials are leery: The Henderson City Council, for example, in February imposed a six-month moratorium on the sale of recreational marijuana. Unincorporated Clark County, which includes the suburban southwest Valley and the Strip, has cautiously welcomed the medical marijuana industry. “We are in discussions with state officials and are awaiting direction from the state Department of Taxation on how to move forward with recreational marijuana,” said county public information administrator Dan Kulin. “We expect that businesses will have to apply for a business license and land-use approval in order to sell recreational marijuana. We do not have a timeline for this yet.”

Even when the law (or laws) takes practical effect, it will still take time for the city to adapt. But some Downtown denizens are ready. Brian, a neighborhood resident, has spent most of his 50 years living and working in Las Vegas—and, as an adult, smoking pot. He thought about getting a medical marijuana card, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to be on a state-maintained list of users. However, Brian lived in Colorado for a couple of years after it allowed the recreational use of marijuana in 2012 and saw how it impacted that city. He expects the same evolution to come to parts of Downtown Las Vegas—along with the visitors to the dispensaries, bars and restaurants that will follow the change in the law and the march of the cannabis.

Kidney Failure Patient Removed from Transplant List Due to Medical Cannabis Use

An American man suffering from renal failure has been removed from a transplant waiting list because his hospital discovered that he had been using medical cannabis to fight his disease.
Garry Godfrey, who has lived in Maine his entire life, suffers from Alport Syndrome, a disease that causes renal failure, alongside debilitating pain, nausea and anxiety. He has used medical marijuana for over a decade to help manage his very serious symptoms. Speaking to local media, Godfrey explained, “I’ve tried so many pharmaceuticals and none of them worked, but the medical cannabis does,”.
Godfrey had been on the transplant list at the Maine Medical Center since 2003 but in 2010, the hospital changed their drug policy, subsequently forcing the medical marijuana using patient off the list.
Maine Med released a statement regarding the decision;
“Drug Use policy currently prohibits transplant candidates from using marijuana, due to the risk of an invasive fungal infection known as Aspergillosis. This infection is life-threatening to patients whose immune system is compromised.”

“Why I choose Cannabis to Heal.”

By Galen Fisher March 9th, 2017

There was a time when I was ashamed of my use of the plant(s) classified into "genus cannabis". Part of my shame, I now have come to realize was based largely in part to my ignorance of this remarkable herbaceous plant.

However, before I go any further it is extremely important for me to emphasize to readers that my knowledge is still incomplete. In fact, just an odd number of years ago, you may not have heard me making a clear distinction about the name of the plant. Instead, I would have referred to it as every known, as well as unknown moniker, except it's proper name.

I can attribute my ignorance in large part to the national policy on "genus cannabis". There undoubtedly is substantial evidence from multiple sources which indicate that prior to 1932, cannabis was used throughout the nation as a known, and plentiful remedy for a bevy of symptoms from various ailments and disease. Incidentally, around the same time period there were a number of purported remedies on the market ranging from cocaine toothpaste to the practice of lobotomy. Altough some horrible medications are still on the market this day that originated from that time period,"genus cannabis has to date never caused a single reported death in the U.S. yet somehow is scheduled as a dangerous narcotic with no known health benefits, and is highly addictive. The contradiction is beyond evident, and contrast with normal reasoning.

For years, my shame for using the herbacious plant I've come only to reffer to as cannabis, prevented me along with countless others from achieving complete health which by the way, the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION or (W.H.O.) defines as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Detterred by the legal status of the plant, there still to date unfortunatly, has been little to no research at all preformed to substantiate the U.S policy on Cannabis and the subsequential enforcement.

"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence.[1] The phrase gives three examples of the "unalienable rights" which the Declaration says have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect. Considering one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence to be a hemp farmer himself, it's hard to discern the course of action taken now in regards to cannabis prohibition on the federal level.

I myself, have ingested cannabis for over 22 years of my life, and because I come from a household that suffered from extreme poverty during my upbringing, doctor visits were usually limited to  the emergency room of the local hospital for matters my guardian(s) were incapable of handling themselves. The first time I had a seizure was when I was 15 or 16 years of age. Prior to this initial episode there was no indication that I was epileptic or otherwise prone to having siezures of any kind. However after a sustained injury to the head while out riding on my new "mountain bike", resulted in bleeding between my brain
and the skull, which is called a subdural hematoma, I would come to know the torment that over 3 million Americans, and 65 million world wide suffer from daily.

Treating my condition through conventional medicine resulted in unwanted side effects including obsessive weight gain, swollen and irritated gums, a general sense of aloofness, and low moral. Not to mention that I was attempting to conceal my condition for fear of being perceived as weak or problematic to my guardian(s) as well as peers;(teenagers can be quite in-compassionate). After my initial episode, I experienced several seizures that I failed to report to anyone. In fact, the only way my family knew my condition was on-going was when I had a Grand -mal seizure at a family gathering in which EMT's were dispatched . I still remember feeling shamed and embarrassed because of my condition. Shortly after being released from the hospital the same day, I returned home and apologized for causing a scene at the Family gathering which I was sure I had ruined. After being reassured that I did nothing wrong, I went back to concealing my condition and attempted to live a normal life. Which would prove more difficult then I could've ever imagined.

My condition ultimately caused extreme anxiety in my teenage years which lead to social anxiety. I became distant and reclusive from my peers and had thoughts that some now might say border lined suicidal. I however, can attest that no matter what life has thrown at me, I never once considered that other option seriously. In fact, it was the use of cannabis during this time in my life that I attributed my will to live.

It might be hard for the average mind to imagine my reality. Likewise it has been equally hard for me to convey my dilemma to those who have a preconceived bias to cannabis use for whatever reasoning. My ignorance prevented me from properly educating anyone to the merits, and health benefits of Cannabis. I feared ridicule, along with disdain from my peers, not to mention the constant threat of imprisonment from authorities due to my use of cannabis. However the option was a clear choice to me then as it is now. However, now 38 years old, and a compliant participant in the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program, the fear has subsided somewhat. I have seen many of my peers fall victim to prescription drug abuse and the subsequent troubles that ensue. Futhermore, I have witnessed in my lifetime, the epidemic of crack, heroine, and now methamphetamine abuse taking the lives of so many.

Whereas I once was ashamed of my use of cannabis, I know possess the will and insight to speak not only from a position of experience, but also from an educated standpoint. Whereas before I lacked any understanding of my condition, and how my very own body worked, I now have considerable more knowledge on the subject of cannabis as therapy as it correlates to my specific condition, and treatment. Although I still see a conventional Doctor who's professional advice and expertise I value deeply, I still refuse to take any known prescription drug for any of my ailments including ,but not limited to tonic and a tonic seizures. The reason being because I live in a State where medical cannabis use is allowed for those with chronic or debilitating health conditions. *Nevada also approved the recreational use of cannabis along with (7) other States in the U.S. back in November.

In fact, Nevada State Constitution, Article 4, Section 38; makes it clear
The use by a patient, upon the advice of his physician, of a plant of the genus Cannabis for the treatment or alleviation of cancer, glaucoma, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; severe, persistent nausea of cachexia resulting from these or other chronic or debilitating medical conditions; epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizure; multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscular spasticity; or other conditions approved pursuant to law for such treatment."

For many just like myself, quality of life to often is hinged on a choice or decision based on access to the right treatment. In my case, I could treat my symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs however at what cost to the rest of my health? I mean the side effects generally associated from taking pharmaceutical drugs to alleviate a single condition, leaves one's body susceptible to a multitude of other. Nausea, dizziness, depression, liver failure, kidney failure and in some cases death! I don't have an advanced degree in medicine, however I can gather that any reasonable layman, or woman would consider an option that caused 0 known deaths, and the side effects are generally cottonmouth, munchies, and uncontrollable laughter.

In conclusion, if you suffer from a chronic and, or, debilitating medical condition(s), talk with your Doctor and find out if there is a non Poly pharmacology approach to mitigate your symptoms. Express your concern that pharmaceutical drugs are consistently being pulled from the market due to toxic repercussions after prolonged usage. You have a choice, a responsibility to the ones you love, and a right to choose what medical approach works best for you. Just remember that CANNABIS is the name of the plant. The medicinal qualities that are attributed to the plant occur naturally as the plant grows. Some of the compounds known as cannibinoids work in concert with the human endocannbinoid system. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.

Las Vegas, Nevada becoming “New Amsterdam”

By Phil Good January 15, 2017

Las Vegas, Nevada

Recreational cannabis use in Nevada along with 7 other States, has sparked interest, so to say among those interested in getting in on what is being called the "green rush". For those not up to speed, the Cannabis industry is evolving from a counterculture plagued with negative stereotypes, to a fascinating, and more increasingly accepted form of preventative, as well as after care treatment.

Although the industry is new, and at times has trouble finding its way around opposition to change, the plant itself, has been in use by humans on this planet for a surprisingly long time.

That fact became increasingly more evident in November when Voters in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine voted for recreational usage of cannabis in those respective States.

What does it all mean?

Well that is a good question, and to get to the answer, we must be specific when asking the question. What I mean of course is that the recent cannabis laws will affect everyone. From medical patients suffering with debilitating diseases, or mild to severe pain. To the casual, or recreational smoker. In addition, the recent laws will have an impact on law enforcement policies as well. Those who were once tasked with preventing the spread and usage of cannabis throughout society, are now tasked with protecting licensed medical cannabis dispensaries.

Without question, the most significantly impacted by the approval of Cannabis usage will be big business. Already we have seen an influx of Cannabis related stocks and mutual funds appearing as financial products on Wall St.and the like. From stocks in lighting equipment to land development, and commercial real estate, the Cannabis industry has everyone's interest piqued, as market analysts expect a feeding frenzy to ensue.

Welcome to Nevada/New Amsterdam!

Nevada has a rare and quite remarkable history with Cannabis. Tahoe, NV located 451.5 miles from Las Vegas, NV has some of the most beautifully secluded areas of natural forestry in the Country.

In addition, one of the most distinctive and medically effective cannabis phenotypes or "strains" bears the name Tahoe OG (Original Genetics). Important to mention that South Lake Tahoe, CA is located 7.1 miles away, and you have what I call the perfect accumulation of circumstances and, the ideal environment. However, after use of genus cannabis was approved by the Nevada
Legislature for medical use, and, later incorporated into Nevada's Constitution; (2000) it wouldn't be until late 2015 that the first Medical Marijuana Establishment or dispensary opened in the state of Nevada.

Fast forward now 2017 and we have over 25 State licensed Medical Cannabis dispensaries or, MME's if you will in Las Vegas alone! One of the larger MME's, and no doubt the one with the most commercialized face in my humble opinion, is REEF. Located behind the infamous Spearmint Rhino adult venue, and just minutes from the Strip, tourist are most certainly bound to be drawn to this Las Vegas main attraction site, especially since January 1, 2017 marked the first day Cannabis became legal for recreational consumption in the State of Nevada.

However medical patients like myself, who rather not deal with all the publicity when choosing, and, purchasing their medication may prefer the warm inviting atmosphere of Sahara Wellness,located at 420 W. Sahara Ave. The southwestern styling inside compliments the staff who are equally knowledgeable, as well as compassionate, making the experience more of a natural choice. No matter what dispensary you choose, all have their own trained staff so you're are sure to find the best fit that works for you. The "Green District" is an area which includes Paradise Road, Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Blvd.