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Nevada Wholesaler Steps Up to Restock Dispensaries

Nevada Wholesaler Steps Up to Restock Dispensaries

High demand for marijuana in Nevada is forcing officials to declare a state of emergency as dispensaries are running on fumes.

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 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.

The 47 retailers now licensed to sell recreational pot previously operated as medical marijuana outlets, which were allowed to move products between cultivators, manufacturers and retail store fronts.

The chairman of the Tax Commission, Jim DeVolld, said the emergency regulation was needed as the state joined several others in the still-evolving world of legal marijuana sales. Kevin Benson stopped short of threatening another lawsuit, but said he's convinced the emergency rules would be invalid.

Nevada is the fifth state in the U.S.to allow adults 21 and over to buy cannabis for recreational purposes.

Tax commissioners charged with enforcing the unusual administrative structure that has led to a distribution bottleneck got their first real taste of the potential crisis at retail dispensaries during a three-hour hearing on Thursday.




He says any emergency that exists was created by state officials who want to push the alcohol industry out of the market.

Nevada has licensed roughly 100 marijuana growers, enough to supply the dispensaries as long as there is a way to transport the pot.

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.

Nevada Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said Thursday a license has been granted for an alcohol wholesaler — Crooked Wine Co.

The Nevada Tax Commission voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the regulation two weeks after the state began allowing the sale of recreational marijuana and supply problems quickly arose because nobody had been licensed to transport it. — to distribute pot products in compliance with a court order.

Endorsed and signed by Gov. Sandoval on Friday, the emergency distribution regulations are now in full effect.

That was the biggest reason Deonne Contine, executive director of the state's Department of Taxation, cited in March when she first expressed concern about "insufficient interest" among liquor wholesalers, especially in Nevada where many of their biggest customers are hotel-casinos also subject to numerous federal statutes. Per the new regulations, Nevada's Tax Commission will now allow the distribution of recreational products by companies not related to the alcohol industry.


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