Customers check out cannabis products at Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
Benny Tso, chairman of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, talks with reporters at Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace during a cannabis media tour on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
Krista Whitley, founder and CEO of Altitude Products, talks with customers about a product called Knob Polish at Acres Dispensary on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
Alyssa Jusino helps Michael Brousseau of New Mexico pick out a product for vaping at Exhale Nevada on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
Marijuana is displayed on sale at Exhale Nevada on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie

Customers browse a selection of cannabis products at the newly opened Underground Marijuana Famers Market at Acres Dispensary on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
Marijuana displayed for sale at Acres Dispensary on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
John Mueller, founder and CEO of Acres Dispensary, talks with reporters during a cannabis media tour at Acres Dispensary on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie

Parker Junger, marketing coordinator with Exhale Nevada, talks with reporters during a cannabis media tour at Exhale Nevada on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
John Laub, president of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, during a cannabis media tour at Exhale Nevada on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
John Laub, president of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, during a cannabis media tour on Friday, April 23, 2018. Patrick Connolly Las Vegas Review-Journal @PConnPie
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For Benny Tso, a marijuana dispensary has meant more than a way people get a legal high.

Tso, chairman of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, wants the dispensary to be his tribe’s main revenue source.

NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Main Street, employs almost half of the 55-member tribe, whose other business interests include a smoke shop and a golf resort.

“This gives us the opportunity to be self-sustainable,” he said. “We suggest all tribes get involved with this industry.”

Less than a year into legal recreational sales of marijuana, dispensaries continue to diversify and find their niche, whether it’s selling to locals, tourists, patients, or enthusiasts.

Nevada stores raked in $35.35 million in recreational pot sales during February, marking the third highest monthly sales total since recreational marijuana became legal to sell on July 1.

Still controversial

For opponents, the plant remains controversial. For advocates, more work needs to be done to expand and ease marijuana use.

Skeptic Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said more research is needed to back advocates’ assertions that smoking marijuana yields medical benefits.

Sabet’s concern is marijuana businesses copying the plays of tobacco and alcohol businesses in selling goods that can be harmful.

“It’s not surprising that the industry is growing more than ever in their quest for profits,” Sabet said. “The pot industry is like any other history, it’s simply trying to enrich its bottom line. Public health be damned.”

Local advocacy is targeted on local officials permitting consumption lounges, said John Laub, president of Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association.

Advocates also want greater insurance coverage, automatic medical cards for people over 65 and marijuana removed as a federally controlled substance.

Locals, tourists, patients

Tso, who opened the 100-employee NuWu Cannabis in October, said he’s not interested in a marijuana lounge, not wanting the liability of impaired patrons on site.

One marijuana businessman interested in a lounge is John Mueller, head of Acres Cannabis, near Sahara and Western avenues.

On Friday — April 20 is considered an unofficial holiday by marijuana patrons — Mueller opened a marketplace of sorts for Nevada marijuana vendors inside his 19,000-square-foot dispensary.

Not only has Mueller expanded his retail footprint, but he plans to add to his cultivation center in Amargosa Valley, he said. About 40 employees work the cultivation center and about another 40 employees work the store.

Customers see workers rolling and grinding marijuana in a kitchen beyond the marketplace. Looking to get into events, Muller plans to host the first wedding inside his dispensary come May.

Parker Junger, marketing director for Exhale Nevada, located near Arville Street and Flamingo Road, said his dispensary wants to market more toward medical patients.

To attract more locals, the dispensary started a loyalty program with redeemable points awarded for money spent. Exhale has about 50 employees between the store and warehouse.

Marketing is hard for dispensaries, especially when they can’t pay for published ads on websites like Facebook, Junger said. A lot of time is still spent on educating customers.

“We dispel myths,” Junger said. “Not everything gives you munchies and makes you sleep.”

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at wmillward@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter.

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