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Despite waits, Nevadans celebrate first day of recreational marijuana sales

The wait to buy recreational marijuana continues Saturday, July 1, 2017, at Shango, 4380 Boulder Highway in Las Vegas. (Nathan O’Neal/KSNV)

Thousands of Nevadans took their place in history Saturday, lining up since midnight for the state’s first legal recreational marijuana sales.

Nevada is the fifth state in the nation to legally sell weed just eight months after voters approved it.

The first legal recreational pot sales were made at midnight. State Sen. Tick Segerblom was first in line at the Reef Dispensary located just off the Las Vegas Strip.

“Every time you buy something here, 33 cents is going to taxes,” said Segerblom.

Nevada law allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

“I want to celebrate history; we're making history,” said one customer.

FULL LIST: Marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas

The first 24 hours of legal marijuana in the Silver State brought hundreds of people to line up at one of Nevada’s 44 dispensaries approved to sell recreationally. At Shango Las Vegas, waiting rooms were packed and the ATM customers depend on for cash-only sales was emptied out because of frequent use.

Representatives of the state’s Department of Taxation also conducted inspections of the dispensaries throughout Las Vegas to ensure the establishments were following the laws and regulations.

However, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and critics say tying the industry to tourism is risky.

“I think Nevada has to think long and hard if they want to be known now as the Amsterdam of weed — it is much stronger than it used to be, it's sending more kids to the hospital,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Since public consumption of marijuana is strictly outlawed in Nevada, it poses a problem for the 40 million tourists Las Vegas sees every year. Violators of the consumption rule could face a $600 fine.

“People will find a way … but we need to work through that issue if we’re going to sell this kind of product,” said Segerblom.

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