There’s a first for everything, especially when it comes to the cannabis industry, so perhaps it’s not surprising that a lack of weed has led the governor of Nevada to declare a state of emergency.
Less than two weeks after recreational marijuana sales began, dispensaries report that they’re running out of product to sell. The state of emergency will allow state officials to decide on new rules to help alleviate the shortage.
The problem is that when Nevada approved recreational marijuana last November, the ballot measure stipulated that for the first 18 months of recreational marijuana sales, wholesale alcohol distributors would be granted the exclusive right to transport cannabis from grows to dispensaries.
However, the Department of Taxation hasn’t approved a single distribution license–and dispensaries are unable to restock their shelves. The department says that they haven’t issued any licenses because of incomplete applications and zoning issues.
“The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state. They have hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the demands of the market. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many of these people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt. A halt in this market will lead to a hole in the state’s school budget,” said Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein.
The Nevada Dispensary Association estimated that dispensaries made about $3 million in sales and the state made about $1 million in tax revenue between July 1 and July 4. Over the next two years, Nevada tax officials expect cannabis sales to generate $100 million in revenue.
The Nevada Tax Commission will vote on regulation to expand the pool of eligible distributors on Thursday.