Marijuana sales have been legal in Nevada for just over one week and already the stores can’t keep up with the demand.
Late last week, officials from the state’s Department of Taxation made the surprising announcement that Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed the department’s “statement of emergency.” State officials will meet this Thursday to consider adopting an emergency regulation that could solve the problem.
It’s not just your basic supply-and-demand economic principles at play here. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal:
As the state law legalizing recreational marijuana was passed in November, wholesale alcohol distributors were promised exclusive rights to transport wholesale marijuana for the first 18 months of legal sales. Since November, the state has received seven applications from liquor wholesalers.
The department tried to address the issue earlier this year by opening the application process up to the businesses that have been transporting medical marijuana and other marijuana businesses, but an 11th hour court battle ended in an order only to accept applications from wholesale alcohol distributors. The taxation department since appealed the court’s decision.
Now that any marijuana dispensary licensed to sell recreational marijuana must receive all product — both recreational and medical — from a distributor licensed to transport recreational marijuana, many of them are stuck with dwindling supplies of flower and edibles both.
Thursday’s hearing will examine the stranglehold distributors have on the process.
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“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.
Riana Durrett, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, estimated sales of around $3 million during the first four days of business.