In less than two months, it will be perfectly legal to purchase recreational marijuana from select dispensaries in Nevada, according to a recent report from the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Earlier this week, the Nevada Tax Commission put its seal of approval on a measure that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries with immaculate records to obtain a temporary license to sell weed for recreational purposes.
The goal of what has been deemed the “early start” program is to get recreational pot sales up and running ahead of the deadline set for the commission to establish rules for the state’s fully legal market.
The plan will allow pot to be sold to anyone 21 and older as early as July 1, 2017.
It is important to point out that this move will not provide any business opportunities for operations not already affiliated with the state’s medical marijuana program. That portion of law is still several months from being realized.
However, beginning in the next couple of weeks, it is will give around 190 medical marijuana dispensaries in “good standing” with the state a chance to capitalize on the recreational sector while regulators figure out exactly how they want this part of the cannabis industry to function when it comes time to open the doors sometime next year.
Applications will be accepted beginning on May 15.
Lawmakers fought hard to ensure recreational marijuana would be available long before the state ever formulated a plan of attack for how to roll out its fully legal marketplace. The concept, which was first used in Oregon, was designed to provide the medical sector with an additional revenue stream while also generating millions of tax dollars that would have otherwise been lost to the black market.
There was also an incentive to get the recreational side flowing in order to meet Governor Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget, which calls for legal weed to haul in $70 million. There was some concern that if the tax board failed to move ahead with temporary pot sales that it would be impossible to meet those projections.
Although the plan has been set into motion, a report from the Las Vegas Review Journal indicates that some retaliatory efforts by the state’s liquor distributors could still throw a wrench in things.
It seems the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada were promised exclusive rights to the distribution of marijuana when voters approved the adult-use initiative last November. This group is now angry because some medical marijuana dispensaries will get a leg up in the recreational market, instead of/before them.
But the tax board says there was concern that not enough liquor distributors were initially interested in legal weed to meet the demand that is expected to come from the recreational market.
Nevertheless, the group wants what it was promised last year: an 18-month monopoly on marijuana licenses.
Tax department director Deonne Contine says it was essential for the state to open the bidding beyond the liquor trade in order to prepare for a potential snag with federal law.
Medical marijuana operations are pleased with the tax board’s decision.
“Its great for the state. It’s great for the industry. I think its great for everybody,” said Armen Yemenidjian, proprietor of Essence Cannabis dispensaries. “This is a display in how Nevada gets things done.”