Nevada Legal Marijuana Shortage Prompts 'Statement Of Emergency'

Calvin Saunders
July 12, 2017

Not because of hospitalizations or crime, but because the state is running out of medical marijuana to sell on the legal market.

Nevada's governor has endorsed a state of emergency declared for recreational marijuana regulations, after the state's tax authority declared that many stores are running out of weed.

Nevada is the only state with legalized marijuana that has such an arrangement. According to the Department of Taxation, Nevada's marijuana sales have exceeded the industry's original estimates-the opening weekend resulted in "well over" 40,000 transactions.

Segerblom - who has been a proponent of legalizing recreational marijuana, and even has a strain named after him - said if the Department of Taxation votes in favor of expanding the license eligibility, the cannabis conundrum will be immediately rectified.

Cover: A customer pays for cannabis products at Essence Vegas Cannabis Dispensary after the start of recreational marijuana sales began on July 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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But a statement of emergency could help dispensaries restock their marijuana inventories.

In May, one month before legalization was to go into effect, the Department of Taxation tried to open up distribution to other businesses, only to see liquor suppliers change their minds and sue to keep their first dibs. Nevada has filed an appeal with the state's supreme court.

The department attempted to rectify the problem by allowing businesses that transport medical marijuana to distribute, but a last-minute court battle kept that right exclusively to the wholesale alcohol distributors. "Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days", a spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation said. Sales are already estimated to have reached $3 million.

This emergency regulation would let the department widen its pool of potential applicants for distribution licenses, allowing them to transport marijuana from grow operations and packaging facilities to the dispensaries. Allowing for rounding, that only accounts for about 15 percent of sales-which is the state excise tax on the first wholesale sale.

The issue seems to be a bureaucratic one, mostly stemming from rules that the state of Nevada initially imposed on legal marijuana sales. The statement signed by the governor warns that inaction "will result in many of these employees losing their jobs and will cause this nascent industry to grind to a halt".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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