A Nevada judge has denied a request by the state’s alcohol industry intended to put the brakes on emergency regulations designed to facilitate the distribution of recreational marijuana.
According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Carson City District Judge Todd Russell, who was allegedly on the fence about how a marijuana shortage could be considered an emergency situation, recently shot down a proposed restraining order initiated by a group of liquor distributors, ruling that blocking the regulations would sabotage state tax revenues.
When Nevada voters put their seal of approval on an initiative aimed at legalizing marijuana, they gave the state’s liquor wholesalers exclusive distribution rights for the first year and a half. However, despite the fact that most of the companies wanted absolutely nothing to do with canna-business, a small group took it to the courts to ensure that no other operations were allowed to participate. The snag prevented the state from issuing any licenses to put recreational marijuana in around 60 dispensaries.
So, when recreational pot sales began on July 1, an event that brought thousands of customers into unprepared retail outlets, it wasn’t long before those businesses began to report a shortage of weed.
Two weeks later, Governor Brian Sandoval issued a “Statement of Emergency,” calling for action to ensure that the state was able to ramp up its marijuana distribution system. This prompted the Independent Alcohol Distributors to, once again, lean on the courts for exclusivity.
Legal counsel for the alcohol trade argued that there was no emergency warranting the distribution of recreational marijuana by any sector other than the state’s liquor wholesalers.
“Because the department itself is at fault for creating the situation that it now claims is an emergency, it cannot use that as a basis to short-circuit the rule making process,” wrote attorney Kevin Benson.
In the end, Judge Russell ruled that the emergency cannabis regulations could proceed because the state’s fear of losing revenue was a legitimate concern.