Ten days after recreational marijuana became legal in Nevada, stores have run out of supplies. Due to the weirdness of Nevada law, they are not allowed to restock their supplies on their own; they need to rely on alcohol wholesalers for that. Even more weirdly, Nevada never got around to issuing a single license to those alcohol wholesalers to do that very thing. The result? No weed.
On Friday, Governor Brian Sandoval endorsed the Department of Taxation’s “statement of emergency.” This will allow state officials to adopt an emergency regulation that would allow the department to consider more applicants for distribution licenses. These licenses would permit the transport of recreational marijuana from cultivation and packaging facilities to their dispensaries by someone other than the alcohol wholesalers. The Nevada Tax Commission will vote on it this Thursday.
It seems as though in an emergency, they would vote sooner than Thursday. The state is missing revenue from these sales – and demand does not seem to be declining. A 15 percent tax on the cultivation of marijuana generates quite a lot of revenue for things like public schools. And people like their pot – a lot.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation stated in an email,
Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately. Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days.
Nevada is the only state with legal recreational marijuana laws that give alcohol wholesalers exclusive rights to transport marijuana from growers to retailers in Nevada. The rule’s intent is to “promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol” — and protect liquor stores from losing business from the high demand of marijuana. This is, in part, the reason supplies are so short.
As supplies continue to diminish, there will be greater pressure on the state to approve licenses for more companies to distribute all the pot. The people are waiting. The funds are waiting. The bongs are empty.