Carson District Judge James Wilson on June 20 agreed with a small group of alcohol distributors the voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana specifically allows only licensed alcohol distributors to move recreational pot from producers to the retail stores. Some retailers said they racked up twice as many sales as they had estimated - and they also reported a dire need for new deliveries to restock their shelves.
The department attempted to rectify the problem by allowing businesses that transport medical marijuana to distribute, but a last-minute court battle kept that right exclusively to the wholesale alcohol distributors.
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Although business is booming, there simply aren't enough suppliers licensed to transport recreational marijuana to meet the demand of the dispensaries.
At the crux of the issue is the number of dispensaries that are licensed to distribute the stuff: Though there are nearly 50 who are licensed to sell it, they can't restock their inventory without distributors. Doing so would allow the Department of Taxation to issue distribution licenses to more applicants beyond alcohol wholesalers. State officials will meet this Thursday to consider adopting an emergency regulation that could solve the problem.
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At this point, no wholesale liquor dealer has met the application requirements to receive a marijuana distributor license. Since November, the state has received seven applications from liquor wholesalers.
The distribution issue is at the center of a legal fight between the state and Nevada's liquor industry, which sued to get in on the business. The ruling has been appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Weed and weed products in Nevada are taxed at about 33 percent, with 15 percent for schools, 10 percent for a rainy-day fund and an 8 percent sales tax that's divided between state and local government.
"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.