Family trades in garbage business for Sparks marijuana dispensary

Kayla Anderson/Tribune
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held last Thursday for the new marijuana dispensary in Sparks, Greenleaf.

Northern Nevada’s 10th cannabis dispensary is set to open at 1730 Glendale Avenue in mid-May, which will carry a variety of medical marijuana products for medicinal purposes. Family-owned and operated, Greenleaf is the 10th of 13 licensed dispensaries in the region. Greenleaf is founded by the Duque family, who has seen firsthand life-changing relief from cannabis use of a family member who was suffering but traditional medicine wasn’t working.

Spike Duque and his children Steve and Tammy formerly ran a garbage hauling company for 13 years in Sparks before selling it to Waste Management in 2013. Then they turned their focus to the cannabis industry.

“This has been a long hard road to get here, but we finally did it,” says Greenleaf Vice President Steve Duque. He said that with all of the regulations and licensing involved with where you can open a dispensary, the Glendale location proved to be ideal- especially with its proximity to Greenleaf’s growing facility.

“We looked for a location for one and a half years that would meet all criteria, and finally found this one,” Steve adds.

Before its grand opening, Greenleaf held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tours on May 4. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres and bright green margaritas provided by the Mobile Drink Doctor. After signing in with the receptionist, patients can access a room with displays of tightly-sealed marijuana flower strains, edibles, glassware and even tinctures that can heal your dog’s sensitive skin.

Master marijuana grower Mark Ziegler flew up from Las Vegas for the ribbon-cutting, and has been helping the family get Greenleaf open for three years. In the business for 17 years himself, Ziegler met the Duque family through mutual friends and they found him through his company CPP Optimizers. For the past year, Ziegler has been flying up to Northern Nevada on a weekly basis to help with obtaining the proper licenses, which they just received at the end of April.

“This is really exciting, we waited three years for this to happen. When I saw them cut that ribbon I got goosebumps,” says Ziegler. “It’s great to be working in a regulated market where all of the players are following the same rules,” he adds.

Greenleaf’s Tammy Kolvet says that they have considered Ziegler like family in helping them with this process and that they couldn’t have done it without him. While her brother Steve mainly manages the dispensaries, Kolvet manages the cultivation. When asked what the biggest difference is between the garbage industry and cannabis, Kolvet says, “the smells”. Seriously though, Kolvet added that being owner-operated in a heavily regulated industry has created a steep learning curve, but the family is fully committed to offering the best cannabis products.

“We owned the garbage company for 13 years in Sparks and decided that this was the next new up-and-coming industry, so we got into it,” she says. “I felt relief at the ribbon-cutting; we all put a lot of work into this. Everyone is so vested; we work 150 percent every day of the week and we have each other’s backs. I’m very proud of what we’ve done as a family,” Kolvet adds.

One of the ribbon-cutters at the May 4 event also included Sparks City Councilman Donald Abbott. “This is exciting, it adds competition to this area. I know they just got their license and I’m proud of our city staff who worked diligently in helped get this going,” he says.

Greenleaf’s products include cannabis extracts, topicals, edibles, concentrates, and different strains of the marijuana flower. Along with the 3200 sq. ft. dispensary, Greenleaf operates a 33,000 sq. ft. growing facility a few blocks away. The Duque family also has space in the building to sell recreational marijuana once the final regulations pass through legislation. For now, the Greenleaf MMJ dispensary will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Greenleaf is all about providing quality of life. I’ve seen what it can do for people suffering and our family hopes to provide an opportunity for those in pain to live productive and happy lives,” Steve adds.

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