Many states are pushing for laws to change so that they can sell marijuana and earn tax dollars. And the marijuana regulators in the state of Nevada are no different. They are working hard to launch their business sales starting July 1, 2017. The Nevada court will decide within the next few days if the monopolizing liquor industry should also be guaranteed a package of the ‘grass’ industry so that the residents and tourists in Las Vegas can start feeling ‘good.’
Attorneys for the liquor industry, the state and dozens of marijuana retailers are all in line wanting to face the judge so that they can argue their case. The big question is whether Nevada has the permission to issue marijuana distribution licenses to anyone else other than the liquor distributors.
The state has stated that it has the authority and power to grant temporary licenses to some already existing medical marijuana cultivators and retailers who can then serve as their own middle men. At stake are millions of dollars and the State wants a head start when it comes to collection of the tax revenue. The state has steadfastly maintained that the money will go towards education but more permanent rules may determine where the money collected goes.
The alcohol lobbyists have argued that the state did not offer it the first shot at distributing license as called for in the ballot measure that was approved by voters in November of 2016.
So far Judge James Wilson, from Carson City district has blocked all licensing until the arguments have been resolved. He had also refused the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. At present it is not known how Mr. Wilson will rule but all sides agree that it is an issue that needs to be resolved rather quickly.
In the meantime, the Nevada state tax officials are going ahead as planned and preparing the licenses for distribution as soon as they are given the green light. They want to make sure that they collect the money.
The law has mentioned that the exclusive right to pot distribution license belonged to the alcohol distributors, unless the state determines that there is not enough interest to do so.
So far, out of the 93 applications for distribution licenses, 88 are from existing medical marijuana establishments and only 5 are from liquor wholesalers.