Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Nevada's Recreational Inventory 'Emergency' Is Ending

Nevada's Recreational Inventory 'Emergency' Is Ending

Nevada regulators may have staved off an imminent marijuana shortage by approving emergency rules meant to stop the state's dispensaries from running out of recreational weed hardly two weeks since starting retail sales. The Department of Taxation said those wholesalers could start transporting marijuana immediately. Nevada officials anticipated the potential issue and attempted to loosen "the licensing rules to allow dispensaries to transport their own marijuana", - which is what is done in other states, the Times reported.

The first two have been issued to a Las Vegas-area booze distributor called Rebel One and to an outfit called Crooked Wine Company, which is pairing with a Reno-based marijuana distributor called Blackbird.

Under Nevada's voter approved marijuana law, alcohol distributors were initially given an 18-month monopoly on the transportation of all recreational cannabis. Kevin Benson stopped short of threatening another lawsuit, but said he's convinced the emergency rules would be invalid.

Department Executive Director Deonne Contine urged the panel to approve an emergency regulation that would allow the state to license existing pot retailers to transport products from growers to stores if it turns out there aren't enough alcohol distributors to do the job.

Tax Commission member Thom Sheets said the answer was clear to him when no distributors had been approved. "This is such an important time in the state of Nevada's existence".

Regulators agreed to change its rules for issuing distribution licenses after a lack of applicants prevented dispensaries from restocking their shelves, rejecting a rule giving exclusive transport rights to wholesale alcohol distributors and opening up the application process to distributors already authorized to delivery medical marijuana. "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".

When the law went into effect in Nevada on July 1, there were almost 50 dispensaries already partaking in the medical marijuana business - and were licensed to sell the substance recreationally.

"Being fully integrated, we have one facility so we can grow it in the back, have a production kitchen in the middle and a retail store in the front", said James Green, a retired police officer who runs Shango Las Vegas, one of the city's largest pot retail operations.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who didn't support the ballot measure, signed off on the emergency regulation this week.

State tax officials say fewer than 10 alcohol wholesalers have applied for pot distribution licenses so far and as of last week none had met the qualifications. On Thursday, the Tax Commission adopted an emergency regulation its lawyers believe should satisfy Wilson's concerns by establishing specific criteria to decide whether there's sufficient interest among alcohol distributors.

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