Officially, commercial sales of cannabis were not expected to be a reality in Nevada until sometime in 2018. However, if things go well in a discussion of the Nevada Tax Commission, then residents and tourists could find themselves with legal access to cannabis via the existing medical marijuana industry within the state. As of right now, it is legal for adults to use cannabis and possess up to an ounce – but there is no place to legally purchase the plant.
It was Deonne Contine, the Executive Director of the state Tax Commission, who brought this idea to light. Contine also organized a workshop to put in place temporary rules and regulations for the commercial industry. If these temporary rules and regulations are put into place by the end of spring/start of summer, as expected, then they would begin accepting applications from existing medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with those regulations before July of this year.
“We hope to, sometime between May and June begin accepting licenses from only operating MMEs (Medical Marijuana Establishments) who are operational and in good standing with the health division and have the proper zoning from their local government, and then issue the licenses for July 1st.”
This is not the first time that someone in Nevada has suggested providing early access to retail sales of cannabis. Back in December, Senator Tick Segerblom was considering introducing legislation that would have done more or less exactly the same thing. However, since the Tax Commission is already working out the rest of the new industry regulations, it would make more sense for them to implement some sort of temporary access, not only to start generating revenue but also to start cutting into illegal sales as soon as possible.
If they were to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to apply for licenses it would follow a similar path to that of Oregon, who provided access for over a year through medical marijuana dispensaries prior to putting permanent restrictions and regulations in place for the commercial industry. Though Nevada’s approach would certainly have some differences, the idea behind it is the same – providing the safest legal access to the plant sooner rather than later, even if they’re still trying to work out all of the details.