Nevada’s legal sales of cannabis started on July 1st – and people were lining up outside before dispensaries opened their doors to recreational customers for the first time at midnight. Since then, the state has seen more sales of legal marijuana than they had anticipated starting with – which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Yes, it’s diverting sales from the illegal market into the legal one – but there isn’t enough supply to go around.
Governor Brian Sandoval has now endorsed the state’s taxation officials who have declared a “state of emergency”, giving state officials the necessary means to start working on emergency measures to address the matter. The biggest issue is the feud between alcohol wholesalers and the state on who can be licensed distributor. At first, alcohol wholesalers would have been the first to get the option to be marijuana distributors – but many appeared uninterested and others did not meet necessary requirements, which led lawmakers to try and create a separate license for individuals outside of the alcohol wholesalers to become distributors.
In the end, this led to a legal battle between the alcohol wholesalers and the state – which has yet to be resolved as the state plans to appeal to the Supreme Court on the matter. However, while many dispensaries stocked up knowing this, they have already sold most of that extra supply in less than a week – when it was intended to last a month. Some had voiced their fears that this would happen, and now when they turn out to be right, state officials will have to find a way to come to an agreement and license distributors to ensure businesses do not suffer from this unfortunate setback.
“Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately. Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days,” said department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein in an email.
Officials are set to take a look at resolving the issue starting July 13th, and hopefully they will not take long to figure out how to handle the situation. The intention appears to be to create a distributor license, but still allow alcohol wholesalers the option of becoming distributors, should they reach compliance with the requirements of the role. Whatever they do, they need to do it soon, as many cannabis businesses put a lot of time, effort, and even hired additional employees to keep up with the demand that recreational cannabis sales would require – which they won’t be able to maintain if they don’t have a new delivery of cannabis for their customers once they run out of their current supply.