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Marijuana shortage: Nevada considers emergency measures

Marijuana shortage: Nevada considers emergency measures

Many retailers were previously licensed to sell and distribute medical pot, so they started stockpiling supplies months ago in an anticipation of high demand for recreational marijuana.

Nevada regulators may have staved off an imminent marijuana shortage by approving emergency rules meant to stop the state's dispensaries from running out of recreational weed hardly two weeks since starting retail sales.

Anticipating the problem, the Nevada tax department had tried to change the rules before legalization kicked in.

Demand has been strong since recreational use was legalised on 1 July.

When Question 2 was passed last November, the text specifically allowed for alcohol wholesalers to have the first crack at cannabis distribution licenses for the first 18 months of retail cannabis sales. Kevin Benson stopped short of threatening another lawsuit, but said he's convinced the emergency rules would be invalid.

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

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But she told the state Tax Commission Thursday it's too soon to tell if Crooked Wine of Reno and Rebel Wine of Las Vegas will be able to handle the demand for all 47 licensed retailers statewide. However, the Nevada Department of Taxation released a statement that, as of July 5, none of the seven alcohol wholesalers that have applied met the application requirements to complete the licensing process.

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. — to distribute pot products in compliance with a court order. "Crooked will have the license, but Blackbird will be in charge of the on-the-ground duties, according to Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the department".

Exactly who will be allowed to move weed hasn't been decided yet.

When the law went into effect in Nevada on July 1, there were almost 50 dispensaries already partaking in the medical marijuana business - and were licensed to sell the substance recreationally. Dispensaries can only obtain marijuana from authorized distributors, however, and a provision in the law precludes regulators from letting anyone outside the alcohol industry transport pot until 2019. With legal cannabis in high demand on the tourist circuit, retailers ran out of cannabis so quickly that Governor Brian Sandoval agreed to sign an emergency regulation to expand distribution licenses. This created a lawsuit that almost delayed the opening of the first retail shops, as alcohol wholesalers fought medical marijuana distributors for the right to produce and distribute cannabis for Nevada's legal market.

The Nevada Tax Commission is poised to adopt a new regulation Thursday in Carson City to license some pot retailers to serve as their own middleman if there aren't enough alcohol distributors to do the job.

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