August 15, 2017 Nevada
A few days back, a decision was made by Nevada marijuana regulators to issue pot distribution licenses to businesses other than liquor wholesalers. The purpose of this move was to keep up with the high demand triggered by the July 1st legalization of recreational marijuana sales. However, it seems the regulators will have to wait a bit longer before they can start issuing pot distribution licenses.
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On, Thursday, August 10, the Nevada Department of Taxation decided to issue pot distribution licenses to more businesses to meet the growing demand for recreational marijuana. On Friday, August 11, a Judge ruled against this decision, stopping them in their tracks. Judge James Todd Russell made the ruling after Nevada’s independent alcohol distributors filed an application in his court that the Nevada Department of Taxation was wrong to issue pot distribution licenses to other businesses since they had exclusive rights to deliver recreational marijuana to sellers for eighteen months.
Judge Russel sided with the independent distributors and said that they are owed their due process after winning the rights from the November election ballot question approved by voters. At this point in time, six liquor distributors are licensed to distribute recreational marijuana to sellers in Nevada. The decision made by Judge James Todd Russell on Friday has made it illegal for any businesses other than the six licensed distributors to put marijuana on the shelves of Nevada’s sixty dispensaries.
Many businesses with hopes of distributing recreational marijuana to sellers in Nevada legally were given something to rejoice when the Nevada Department of Taxation voted on August 10, to open- up the market previously limited to liquor distributors. However, their joy was short-lived as Judge James Todd Russell ruled against this decision of Nevada Department of Taxation only a day after it was made.
The Nevada Department of Taxation started considering the decision after it received eighty applications from businesses interested in distributing recreational marijuana to sellers. However, even prior to receiving these eight applications, marijuana regulators had thought about opening up the distribution process to medical dispensaries in the state. Even then, the judiciary sided with the independent wholesalers/distributors, saying that the regulators needed to set formal criteria to determine if enough distributors aren’t available to do the job.
However, backed by governor Brian Sandoval, the regulators approved an emergency regulation in July to meet the concerns of the judiciary. On Thursday, August 10, a 3-hour public meeting took place in Henderson. During the meeting, many people supported the idea of a ‘larger pool’ of recreational marijuana distributors. Also, officials belonging to the Nevada Department of Taxation voiced their concerns about legal distributors running out of cannabis products, forcing customers to return to the illegal black market.
While the judiciary has stopped the Nevada Department of Taxation from issuing pot distribution licenses to businesses other than liquor wholesalers for now, it may not be able to keep things that way for long due to the pressure by a large plethora of businesses looking to enter the lucrative industry.
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