When Nevada residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis late last year, state officials looked at the lengthy processes and political bickering in other legal weed states that have waited years to set regulations and actually start retail sales, and decided to blaze their own path.
But while state officials have been planning to enact an early recreational sales start date of July 1st for months, a court decision in Carson City this week had cannabis advocates and regulators alike worried that their plan would be indefinitely delayed.
Because Nevada’s legalization law gives exclusive cannabis distribution power to the state’s alcohol wholesalers for the first 18 months of recreational legalization, Judge James Wilson ruled that the state cannot give those commercial licenses to anyone but sellers of alcohol, effectively halting Nevada’s plans for an early start - or so we thought.
According to a new report from Leafly, state officials are still planning to give recreational retail licenses to as many as 30 existing medical marijuana dispensaries next week exactly as planned, setting them up to sell their cannabis products to any adult aged 21 and older starting this friday, July 1st.
“Distributor issue will not hold up licensing of other marijuana establishments.” state Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said. “The injunction has no effect on the other license types.”
The only problem is, once the soon-to-be-licensed medical dispensaries run out of their initial stock, there will still be no one to legally distribute cannabis to the state’s newly recreational shops.
“Once that inventory runs out, without distributors, they are not going to be able to restock,” Klapstein said.
Hopefully, Nevada’s liquor distributors and cannabis regulators will be able to hash out a deal before the state’s pot shops run out of product, but either way, Klapstein is adamant that recreational licenses will go out in time for the long-planned early start date, with as many as 25 dispensaries in the Las Vegas area ready to add a new vice to Sin City this summer.
“Because the application review process isn’t complete, we can’t say with certainty which businesses will be licensed,” Klapstein said. “That said, those that applied, meet the qualifications and whose applications we get processed before July 1, will be licensed by July 1.”