Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin in Nevada
Since the passage of Question 2 in November, the Nevada legislature scrambled to make last-minute changes to the law before legal recreational marijuana sales kicked off July 1.
Hopes for a smooth “early start” were muted by a court case brought by the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada. On June 20, District Judge James Wilson in Carson City granted an injunction in their favor, giving them exclusive marijuana-distribution rights for the first 18 months of legal adult-use sales. This ruling led many to believe that recreational sales would not begin as planned.
A day after the distribution ruling, Clark County, home to Las Vegas, announced that 25 dispensaries would receive special-use permits for recreational sales. “We’re not thrilled with the judge’s decision,” notes Adam Cohen of Vegas’ Jardin Premium Cannabis Dispensary. “But we’ll move forward. I have no doubt it will ultimately work out.”
On June 29, the Nevada Dispensary Association held a press briefing during which State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) stated, “The medical inventory, as of midnight tomorrow night, can be sold recreationally. Most of the dispensaries have been stocking up, so we believe there’s probably 30 to 60 days supply already there. And we’re confident the liquor people will be able to start their distributorships and transporting before we see any sort of shortage happen.”
Dispensaries in Clark County and throughout the state started selling recreational products on July 1, but will not be able to restock any of those products until the alcohol distributors get approved. Several activists in the medical community have voiced concerns that a potential shortage could have negative consequences for patients, and that the new taxes on cannabis will make it harder for patients to access their medicine.
This distribution and early start confusion comes at the end of a busy legislative season for Nevada. The state legislature passed seven of the 23 marijuana-related bills introduced during the 2017 session. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation establishing a 10% excise tax on it easing medical-marijuana rules, allowing marijuana on Native American lands, increasing restrictions on edibles, regulating industrial hemp and revising the drugged-driving law.
The bills tabled included setting up marijuana nonprofits, regulating social use, increasing medical patients’ purchase limits, protecting firearm rights for patients and reinstating home-growing rights.
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