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Nevada governor backs emergency regulations amid marijuana shortage

Daniel Uria
United Press International

CARSON CITY, Nev. (UPI) — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed emergency regulations to combat a shortage of marijuana at legal recreational retailers in the state.

The state law legalizing recreational marijuana starting this month dictated that wholesale alcohol distributors be granted exclusive rights to transport marijuana for the first 18 months of legal sales, but a lack of approved distributors has created a potential shortage, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed emergency regulations allowing the state’s Tax Department to grant more marijuana distribution licenses, as the state faces a potential marijuana shortage.                         Photo credit: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock

“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,” Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said.

Seven liquor wholesalers have applied for distribution licenses, but failed to meet regulations. The Department of Taxation will vote on a regulation Thursday that would allow the department to grant licenses to a larger pool of distributors.

“We continue to work with the liquor wholesalers who have applied for distribution licenses, but most don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them,” Klapstein said. “Even as we attempted to schedule the final facility inspection for one of the applicants this week, they told us their facility was not ready and declined the inspection. As of mid-day Friday, not one distribution license has been issued.”

There were more than 40,000 sales during the first weekend recreational marijuana retail was legal, KRNV reported, doubling the estimated amount. The Nevada Dispensary Association also estimated dispensaries made about $3 million in sales and the state made about $1 million in tax revenue between Saturday and Tuesday of this week.

Tax Department executive director, Deonne E. Contine worried stores may run out of inventory, leading customers to purchase marijuana illegally.

“Without the ability to license marijuana distributors to continue the flow of product to the retail store, a high likelihood exists that consumers will revert to the black market,” Contine said.

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Nevada governor backs emergency regulations amid marijuana shortage