Nevada's marijuana licensing is back on hold again after state regulators have agreed to hear another appeal from the alcohol industry. The official rollout of recreational cannabis in the state has been off to a rocky start, due to an ongoing battle between a group of liquor distributors and the Nevada Taxation Department over the right to transport recreational marijuana from cultivators to dispensaries.
The ballot measure that legalized marijuana in the state gave liquor distributors exclusive rights to cannabis licenses for the first 18 months of sales. When state legislators voted to allow early sales of recreational cannabis at medical marijuana dispensaries to begin this July, the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada filed a complaint. This spring, a district court judge issued an injunction preventing the state from giving cannabis licenses to anyone other than liquor distributors.
Last week, Carson City Judge James Russell lifted this injunction after Deonne Contine, executive director of the state taxation department, said that there was not enough interest on the part of liquor distributors to fulfill the heavy demand for legal cannabis in the Silver State. Russell said that the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada must exhaust all administrative remedies and file a formal appeal with the tax department.
The Nevada department of taxation announced that they would begin accepting cannabis license applications from businesses outside the industry early last week. But on Friday, the commission agreed not to issue any licenses to non-alcohol entities until the board hears the alcohol industry's appeal on August 29th.