Beth Schwartz – Editor
If you would have told me at the beginning of the decade that it would end with cannabis being fully legalized for recreational use in the state of Nevada, I would have said you were smokin’ something. This was the opening sentence in my first column of 2020 in which I was referencing the 2010s. The theme of our January issue was 2020 Vision in which we went on to make predictions about the new decade being ushered in. We pondered the future of vaping and dosing. And I boldly predicted the cannabis industry would get banking access and consumption lounges, become federally legalized, and enjoy many medical breakthroughs and discoveries.
Clearly someone should have taken me to an optometrist to get my eyes checked before I published a 2020 vision of any kind. Little did I know a deadly virus was brewing when I was busy prognosticating about the future of cannabis last December. A virus that would cause a global pandemic infecting 12.5 million Americans and killing 260,000 (accurate as we went to print) knocking our world off its axis. As much as Covid-19 and everything left in its wake caused so much uncertainty, angst, and grief, it also gave the cannabis industry something I would have never predicted it could have achieved in this coming decade: legitimacy.
When Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak shut down Nevada on March 17th, he announced that only essential businesses would remain open. Those businesses were listed as pharmacies, grocery stores, drug and convenience stores, banks and financial institutions, hardware stores and gas stations. He didn’t mention the cannabis industry or if dispensaries were being given essential status. Given that cannabis is federally illegal and according to federal law has no medical benefit, it could have gone either way as to whether cannabis would receive essential status.
Turns out Gov. Sisolak has better vision than I because the next day clarification was offered: “Licensed cannabis stores and medical dispensaries should only remain open if employees and consumers strictly adhere to the social distancing protocol,” the Nevada Health Response Center said in a statement. In an emergency regulation issued by the state on March 20th, the regulation identified retail cannabis dispensaries as essential and exempt businesses but noted that they had to operate by delivery only.
Even though cannabis was deemed essential, many forecasted that Nevada’s lack of tourism would hamstring cannabis sales. However, it has turned out not to be as dire a situation as first predicted. Sales in March and April were rough with in-store sales banned and no tourists, but it turns out Nevadans were only too happy to toke up the slack. By May Nevada’s adult-use retail sales resumed growing, thanks to looser in-store restrictions. And by June, sales returned to year-over-year increases, even though tourist traffic remained negligible. Things really started humming in August as sales reached $79.5 million–as compared to $62.7 million at the same time last year. It appears Gov. Sisolak was prophetic in his bet that a lot of Nevadans would find cannabis to be essential in the middle of a historic pandemic.
They say hindsight is 20/20. So if I had the opportunity to rewrite my January column, it would have started this way: If you would have told me at the beginning of 2020 that it would end with cannabis being designated as essential, I would have said you were smokin’ something.
Educate with a more informed understanding of the benefits of medicinal cannabis
When we decided to start Elevate Nevada it was a result of a wholehearted belief that an instrumental component of the medicinal cannabis debate was missing from the overall discussion. The stigma of cannabis was preventing people, who are/were suffering with major diseases or general illness, from learning about and trying marijuana alternatives that would aid in healing their bodies in an all-natural way.
We believed the market was missing a forum for discovering the positive aspects of medicinal cannabis. We wanted to create this publication to better educate the community about medicinal marijuana as another option to combat pain and illness — specifically an option that is all-natural and removes the toxicity of pharmaceuticals from the equation. In today’s world, doctors prescribe medicinal cannabis as a treatment for everything from sleeping disorders, aches and pains to PTSD and the effects of medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
With Elevate Nevada we endeavor to create a resource that presents the educational aspects of medicinal cannabis — a subject that is rapidly gaining interest in Nevada. This interest stems from the fact that as of this year, state law allows for legal dispensaries as well as the cultivation and testing of cannabis for treating medical conditions.
Our motivation to start Elevate Nevada also came from personal experience. Several of the Elevate team had family members who suffered from diseases and could have experienced great relief if medicinal cannabis had been legal and available to them. When you care about someone and are watching them suffer, every option is on the table and so we wanted to create a forum for people to investigate the option of medicinal cannabis and make informed decisions for the sake of their loved ones.
We hope you leave this site educated and with a more informed understanding of the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
Guy Bertuzzi – Publisher
Socrates so sagely said: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.”
Change is here and I honestly never thought I would see cannabis, marijuana, dope, weed, pot, grass or whatever you like to call it become legal in my lifetime. But here we are Nevada–breaking ground and building the new.
For the people who are still on the fence or on the other side of the fence about the legalization of cannabis, this is your chance to understand, educate yourself, explore and learn the powers of the healing properties of this plant. Even though we use verbiage like recreational and adult-use, cannabis is still preventative medicine. Just in the last few weeks I have experienced its medicinal benefits.
In my recent travels around the state getting to know people in the industry, I was lucky enough to meet Marina and Jackie from CBD for Life, which is a line of cannabidiol (CBD) infused pain management and beauty products. elevate editor Beth Schwartz swears by CBD for Life products, remember the line from our January 2016 cover? Beth was so delighted with the results of CBD her enthusiasm resulted in the headline: “Forget smoking cannabis, we should be smearing it all over our bodies.” It was my turn to try the wonders of CBD topicals and golly gee whiz Beth was onto something. (Editor’s note: Just shaking my head over here.)
I decided to try it for an issue that has plagued me my whole life from when I was 13 years old and chunks of my scalp were falling out. Kids were making fun of me and teasing me that I had lice. I didn’t have lice, it was the beginning of a lifelong battle with psoriasis, which is on several areas of my body including my elbows and hands.
Until recently people would ask me why I had white paint on my elbows, that’s how severe psoriasis affects me. I was telling Jackie about my psoriasis and how it makes me feel a little insecure, and because I had tried everything I was doubtful anything, including CBD, would work. Jackie instructed me to loofah my problem areas and use CBD for Life’s face and body cleanser and lotion several times a day. She was right! My psoriasis looks better than it ever has–well, there’s really not much to see anymore just fresh pink skin. CBD doesn’t cure it, but you cannot see the flaky white skin, or traces of psoriasis on my hands or elbows right now.
Because it was such a transformative experience for me, I just sent my dad some Pure CBD for Life Rub for his arthritis, and he reported back, after being doubtful, that it is indeed helping. So, whatever your feelings are on Nevada’s laws and the legalization of cannabis, keep an open mind. Stop fighting the old and focus on the new because, and I hope you don’t, someday you or someone you love may need the healing benefits of cannabis.