By Jacqueline Monahan
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Official Ribbon Cutting for First All-Woman-Owned Medical Marijuana Dispensary on East Sahara

This is a puff piece – in a good way.  

Sahara Wellness, the first all-woman-owned medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada, hosted an official ribbon cutting on Saturday, January 9th at 420 E. Sahara Ave.   The time was 4:20 p.m. and the dignitary doing the snipping was none other than Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom.

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Sahara Wellness
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Ribbon Cutting
Sahara Wellness Ribbon cutting
Photo credit: Jacqueline Monahan

Wielding a pair of oversized scissors, the affable Segerblom cut a red ribbon tied to the iron dispensary gate, flanked by Brenda Gunsallus and Stacey Huffman, two of the quartet of women business partners responsible for Sahara Wellness, along with Alex Davis and Paula Newman

The term 420 is used in cannabis culture as a national day to get high (April 20), a time to get high (4:20 am OR pm) and to refer to the marijuana itself.  Origins of the term vary, with two of the most popular centering on San Rafael, California’s 1971 high school group “The Waldos” preferred smoking time, and to that city’s police code for the wondrous weed (they’ve always denied it).  A Toronto, Ontario highway and Bob Dylan theory also exist.  Whichever is correct, 420 is a number incontrovertibly associated with pot.

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Sahara Wellness interior
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Sahara Wellness interior
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The dispensary itself is a small, caramel-colored building on Sahara Avenue, directly across Santa Rita Street from Jewelry and Minerals of Las Vegas.  Upon entry, its interior reveals a relaxing, almost spa-like space, complete with original artwork featuring…plants water wall fountain. There is a spacious waiting room, an intake office, and a sectioned interior with an assortment of “delivery systems” (pipes) in a glass case, a large menu of cannabis varieties, and a row of bank teller-like dispensary interior windows.

There are no exterior windows and the property entrance is gated.  A security guard is present at all times.  Walls bear huge menus of marijuana varieties like Girl Scout Cookie, 9 lb. Hammer, Golden Goat, and Fire Alien.  Don’t forget the Strawberry Cough and Trainwreck.  There are pure and hybrid strains of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica, each with varying potencies.

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Sahara Wellness menu
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Think that smoking is the only way to get some of those cannabinoids (CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis that can provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, and inflammation, into your system? Far from it.  You can vaporize, drink, and rub yourself with cannabis products, which are available in tinctures, tonics, balms, salves, lotions, sprays, ointments, teas, sodas, and an edible concentrated wax form.

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Sahara Wellness accessories
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Hey, different tokes for different folks.  Cannabis products treat dozens of conditions and maladies, among them autism, chronic pain, cancer, colitis, panic disorder, osteoarthritis, and acute gastritis in addition to glaucoma, the most commonly treated ailment.

Prices vary, but count on spending around $50 for an eighth of an ounce, plus sales tax.

A sign for Deep Roots Harvest – Nevada’s Cannabis Company is prominently displayed in Sahara Wellness’s pristine interior space, an environment that’s perhaps more polished than many long-established medical offices.  Certainly more aesthetic, serene, and …mellow.  

What do the women proprietors hope to accomplish with their all-women dispensary?  Says Gunsallus, “It can be intimidating to go into a medical marijuana dispensary. We plan to make Sahara Wellness a warm and welcoming place."

Newman adds, "I’m hoping our gentler side, our maternal side … will be able to sit down with people who are afraid… and to be able to choose an oil or a tincture, not roll a doobie and get high."

Alex Davis sums it up, “We are in this business to help people.”  Each of the women knew someone among their families and friends who could benefit from medical marijuana.  Now they are actively doing something about it.

Perhaps the most effective ingredient of all is estrogen.