Nevada has become the fifth state in the US with stores selling marijuana for recreational purposes.

People aged 21 and above can now buy up to an ounce of the drug at a time and use it in their homes if they have a valid ID in the western state, which is famed for the hotels and casinos in its largest city Las Vegas.

The millions of tourists who visit Nevada cities every year are expected to make nearly two of every three purchases from retailers, who began selling pot early on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people lined up at Essence Cannabis Dispensary on the Las Vegas Strip and cheered as the doors opened just after midnight.

Dispensaries worked furiously to prepare for the launch, stamping labels on pot products, stocking up their shelves, adding security and checkout stations, and announcing specials.

Desert Grown Farms hired about 60 additional employees. Workers in scrubs, hair nets and surgical masks slapped stickers on sealed jars this week as others checked on marijuana plants or carefully weighed buds.

“It would be a good problem to have if I couldn’t meet my demand,” said CEO Armen Yemenidjian, whose Desert Grown Farms owns the only dispensary that is selling recreational pot on the Las Vegas Strip, across the street from the Stratosphere hotel.

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Some dispensaries took to social media to spread the word or tried to draw in buyers with special events. Some planned to give away free marijuana to their first 100 customers or throw parties with barbecues and food trucks later in the afternoon.

Some facilities are in strip malls, while others, in stereotypical Las Vegas fashion, are in neighborhoods shared by strip clubs.

  • Tom

    Whenever a state legalizes, the “giant sucking sound” (to borrow a phrase from Ross Perot) you hear is money flowing in from the surrounding states which have not yet legalized. The only way this domino-effect will end is for all states to be legal, which is what it should have been all along.

  • Zaphod Braden

    Drugs get legalized to suppress dissent.

    • Tom

      Someone should have told that to Richard Nixon, who explicitly kicked the “War on Drugs” into high gear in order to jail Vietnam War dissenters, who he otherwise couldn’t go after because of that pesky 1st Amendment.