Marijuana shortage: Nevada considers emergency measures

Nevada's marijuana distribution emergency ends

Nevada's marijuana distribution emergency ends

The Nevada Tax Commission unanimously passed an emergency regulation Thursday revising the state's rules for issuing marijuana distribution licenses after retailers warned they would otherwise run out of weed and likely have to lay-off workers. "This is such an important time in the state of Nevada's existence".

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.

While the state had given alcohol distributors sole rights for the first 18 months of sales, a court battle and bureaucracy kept any licenses from being approved for almost the first two weeks.

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. 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. Emergency regulations that would broaden "the pool of potential distributors" have been proposed by the state's Department of Taxation in the meantime.

Many retailers were previously licensed to sell and distribute medical pot, so they started stockpiling supplies months ago in an anticipation of high demand for recreational marijuana.

"Crooked Wine has signed an operation agreement with Blackbird, an established medical marijuana distributor also based in Reno".

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.

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. The rule aims to "promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol" - and protect liquor stores from losing business as the demand for recreational marijuana rises. State officials are expecting sales to top $30 million by the end of 2017, making a licensed distributor all the more important in the coming weeks.

Nevada's distribution woes are unique among states that have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.

This created a lawsuit that almost delayed the opening of the first retail shops, as alcohol wholesalers fought medical marijuana distributors for the right to produce and distribute cannabis for Nevada's legal market.

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