Under the tax department's expanded regulations, distributors licensed to transport pot in the medical marijuana market, which began operating in the state in 2001, could gain access to the recreational market, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
A bureaucratic bottleneck turned Nevada's recreational marijuana launch into a distribution disaster.
When Question 2 was passed last November, the text specifically allowed for alcohol wholesalers to have the first crack at cannabis distribution licenses for the first 18 months of retail cannabis sales.
As of Thursday, the same day the tax department was set to hear the emergency proposal it approved, at least two distributors were finally licensed, director Deonne Contine told The Los Angeles Times.
With no timeline for when the supply chain issues would be fixed, retailers stockpiled marijuana based off initial sales estimates.
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The Tax Department last week declared the need for the emergency rules after marijuana retailers recorded more than 40,000 transactions in the first weekend. Available product wasn't the issue; in fact, growers still possessed plenty of marijuana.
"Without the ability to license marijuana distributors to continue the flow of product to the retail store, a high likelihood exists that consumers will revert to the black market", Contine said.
Endorsed and signed by Gov. Sandoval on Friday, the emergency distribution regulations are now in full effect. If left unfixed, thousands could have found themselves out of a job and the state would inevitably lose out on some of the money it budgeted toward beefing up public education. While the state had given alcohol distributors sole rights for the first 18 months of sales, a court battle and bureaucracy kept any licenses from being approved for almost the first two weeks. A second was approved Thursday, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported, but a lack of interest - especially when compared to the 87 marijuana companies vying for approval - risked sending dispensaries into the red. It would appear that marijuana distribution licenses would have to be issued to persons other than liquor wholesalers - however, nothing is that simple.
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native.