On July 1, 2017, attitudes were high in Nevada as consumers were finally allowed to purchase marijuana for recreational purposes.
The night before, lines wrapped around dispensaries which stayed open past 12 am so residents and tourists could buy state-regulated cannabis. And purchase, they did.
Less than two weeks after recreational cannabis became legal in Nevada, the state’s Department of Taxation issued a “statement of emergency,” as dispensaries are running out of pot to sell.
Shortly after, Governor Brian Sandoval endorsed the department’s call for more licensed distributors to keep up with demand.
At present, only 50 dispensaries in the state have licenses to sell marijuana for recreational use.
The same retailers lack the authority to restock their inventories, however.
As Business Insider reports, “Alcohol wholesalers have the exclusive rights to move marijuana from growers to retailers in Nevada, as part of a temporary court order that was extended in June by a Carson City district judge.
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.” Nevada is the only state in the U.S. with such an arrangement.
As of Friday, however, zero distribution licenses have been issued to alcohol wholesalers due to incomplete applications or zoning issues.
With dispensaries close to running out of weed and an overflowing customer base willing to inject their cash into the industry, state authorities have no choice but to issue more distribution licenses to a larger pool of clients — including those outside the alcohol business. The Nevada Tax Commission will vote on the proposed regulation this Thursday.
According to Stephanie Klapstein, a spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation, a collapsed marijuana market will have substantial implications for the economy.
After all, recreational sales are taxed 15%, which the state intends to spend on public education. “A halt in this market will lead to a hole in the state’s school budget,” Klapstein told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Residents and tourists over 21 years of age are allowed to buy up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates in the state. Let’s hope dispensaries are able to replenish their supplies soon!