Nevada regulators reaffirmed their intentions Friday to issue licenses necessary for retailers to begin selling pot for recreational use on July 1 while complying with a court order in a lawsuit filed by alcohol wholesalers who want a piece of the pot distribution business.
The retail licensees could include as many as 25 medical dispensaries in the Las Vegas area and four others in Reno that already have medical retail licenses, as long as they adhere to packaging requirements in an emergency regulation to be adopted Monday, state Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said.
The fate of the recreational program has been in limbo since a Carson City judge ruled Tuesday that the ballot measure voters approved requires that alcohol wholesalers have exclusive rights to pot distribution licenses for 18 months.
Distribution licenses allow pot to be moved between locations and are different than retail licenses.
The state had wanted the option of licensing existing medical marijuana businesses to serve as distributors when recreational sales begin.
Kevin Benson, a lawyer for the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The group filed the lawsuit considered by Wilson aimed at blocking any pot distribution licenses outside the liquor industry.
Klapstein emphasized Friday that no decisions have been made on granting recreational pot licenses to the dispensaries in Reno and Las Vegas.
Retail sales could be short-lived unless the state issues distribution licenses necessary to move additional products from growers to retailers.
The on-again, off-again plan to launch recreational sales has medical marijuana outlets scrambling to stockpile enough pot to meet what’s expected to be extremely high demand.
Unlike recreational pot movement, transporting medical marijuana does not require a distribution license.
Cates said he’s confident some alcohol wholesalers will get pot distribution licenses in the coming weeks while existing stockpiles at dispensaries are sold to recreational customers.
Source: The Washington Post