Nevada’s idea to use its medical marijuana market to temporarily service the recreational crowd is supposed to launch sometime within the next month. So far, the state has received more than 140 applications from companies wanting to sell weed in a manner similar to beer.
Once the state gets the details of its “early sales” scheme hashed out, adults 21 and older would be allowed to walk into select dispensaries and purchase up to an ounce of marijuana without a being required to show proof of their medical marijuana affiliation.
The goal is to get recreational pot sales up and going in just enough time to beat the summertime tourism rush that is set to start building momentum in the coming weeks.
Las Vegas alone is expected to see as many as 43 million visitors this year.
While early pot sales could certainly become a boon for the state in terms of maximizing its overall tax revenue, there is still a distinct possibility that the whole plan could be sabotaged by the alcohol industry.
It seems that when voters approved recreational marijuana last November, they gave area alcohol distributors the monopoly on retail pot sales for the first 18 months. Although state officials say they have not received that much interest from these types of companies wanting to get into the business of slinging weed, a small gang of green-eyed distributors have made enough noise to cause early pot sales some real trouble.
On Tuesday, a district court judge handed down an order preventing any recreational marijuana distribution licenses from being issued until it can be determined whether that state broke the law by not giving alcohol distributors the first wave of licenses.
This is a controversial issue because no one is actually stopping the alcohol industry from applying for licenses to sell weed. The problem is around 13 alcohol distributors want to take over early sales exclusively, not allowing anyone else to get involved – not even those medical marijuana businesses that already have the experience and infrastructure to perform the task at hand.
For now, no one is sure exactly how the judge’s order will affect the recreational marijuana application process.
Nevada’s recreational cannabis industry is expected to generate $7.5 billion in economic activity within the first seven years. With nearly 13 percent of the state’s gross domestic product coming from the tourism trade, it is absolutely imperative for the state to address this snag in order to stay on track with those projections.