Nevada approves emergency regulations to expand distribution of marijuana
Nevada approves emergency regulations to expand distribution of marijuana
Nevada Wholesaler Steps Up to Restock Dispensaries
16 July, 2017, 03:33
The state is appealing that ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court, with opening briefs due July 21 on an expedited hearing schedule. When sales began July 1, retail shops - all of which were already selling marijuana for medical use - had to rely on their existing stocks, which soon started to run low.
The Nevada tax commission recently approved "emergency regulations" to analyze whether there are enough distributors to supply the state's 47 legal dispensaries.
Nevada voted in favour of legalising recreational use of marijuana in November, following similar moves in several other states.
The referendum passed previous year by Nevada voters legalizing the drug for recreational use stipulated that for the first 18 months of sales only liquor wholesalers would be allowed to apply to distribute marijuana - a nod to the powerful alcohol industry, which is anxious about new competition from pot. Kevin Benson stopped short of threatening another lawsuit, but said he's convinced the emergency rules would be invalid.
That's because alcohol sellers want in on the business. However, the Nevada Department of Taxation released a statement that, as of July 5, none of the seven alcohol wholesalers that have applied met the application requirements to complete the licensing process.
Alcohol distributors have cited reservations over federal regulations as one reason they're hesitant to make the investments required to get marijuana distribution licenses.
Nevada pot providers were sent a lifeline from state regulators on Thursday after they acted to expand rules on who is allowed to transport marijuana from cultivation facilities to retail dispensaries.
Almost 50 dispensaries in the Las Vegas area have licenses to sell marijuana for recreational use.
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The Tax Commission is expected to approve the emergency regulation late Thursday while the court battle continues.
Under the tax department's expanded regulations, distributors licensed to transport pot in the medical marijuana market, which began operating in the state in 2001, could gain access to the recreational market, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
"The crisis has to do with distribution and state rules over who is allowed to transport marijuana", the Times reported.
The state's influential alcohol industry feared that the legalization of weed would cut into their booze sales.
Only seven of Nevada's almost 70 liquor distributors had applied for marijuana licenses when retail sales began July 1, and the state only issued its first on Wednesday, almost two weeks later. 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.
But representatives of several of the 47 retailers now licensed to sell recreationally testified before the tax panel Thursday their shelves are almost empty because there's no distribution mechanism that allows them to restock.
There are now 47 licensed cannabis retailers spread across Nevada, selling approximately $3 million worth of cannabis in just the first four days of legal sales.
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