Nevada adopts emergency marijuana rules amid fears of imminent weed shortage

15 July, 2017, 13:10 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Nevada Wholesaler Steps Up to Restock Dispensaries

The 47 retailers now licensed to sell recreational pot previously operated as medical marijuana outlets, which were allowed to move products between cultivators, manufacturers and retail store fronts.

State regulators, caught off-guard, agreed on emergency procedures that will facilitate a streamlined licensing process for Nevada's recreational distributors. The state is challenging the interpretation of that law because of the bottleneck.

The Nevada Tax Commission is hearing testimony on the emergency proposal that would allow more flexibility in the licensing so as to meet overwhelming demand at recreational pot retailers who launched the state's first legal sales July 1.

"If this body adopts this regulation today, it will be invalid", Benson told the commission Thursday.

The head of Nevada's Department of Taxation says the agency has approved licenses for two alcohol wholesalers in compliance with a court order to begin distributing recreational marijuana to retailers running low on supplies.

Tax Commission member Thom Sheets said the answer was clear to him when no distributors had been approved.

In California, where voters passed a similar measure in November, residents can possess and buy recreational pot, but the state has until 2018 to begin issuing licenses to sellers and distributors. Initially great news for the state's coffers - raising approximately $500,000 in new tax revenue - the state's lack of planning for adequate distribution quickly created a conundrum for dispensaries - a lack of cannabis products. "Crooked will have the license, but Blackbird will be in charge of the on-the-ground duties, according to Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the department".

Even with this monopoly on offer, too few interested parties stepped forward, so the state tried to give distribution licenses to marijuana companies.

A Carson City judge ruled last month that alcohol wholesalers have exclusive rights to transport pot from growers to store fronts for the next 18 months.

Thanks to restrictive regulations - the result of a power play by liquor distributors eager to get a cut of the multibillion-dollar action - Nevada's 47 dispensaries began the recreational marijuana legalization era on July 1 with limited supply, and no way to re-up without receiving shipments from big booze shippers, none of whom have yet qualified for a recreational distribution license. Dispensaries can only obtain marijuana from authorized distributors, however, and a provision in the law precludes regulators from letting anyone outside the alcohol industry transport pot until 2019.

That was the biggest reason Deonne Contine, executive director of the state's Department of Taxation, cited in March when she first expressed concern about "insufficient interest" among liquor wholesalers, especially in Nevada where many of their biggest customers are hotel-casinos also subject to numerous federal statutes.

Endorsed and signed by Gov. Sandoval on Friday, the emergency distribution regulations are now in full effect.

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