Nevada officials have declared a state of emergency over the lack of available marijuana. Retail dispensaries warn that if the supply chain is not fixed, they will soon run out of marijuana. It has only been a mere two weeks since recreational pot was legalized and no one expected the demand to be this intense. The state Department of Taxation warned that this industry could grind to a halt, having declared a state of emergency last week.
As bad as a halt would be for those who consume marijuana, the state has another concern: tax revenue. A 15% tax on growers, along with a 10% tax on sales of recreational pot, is expected to generate millions of dollars a year for the state’s general fund reserves and schools. Although Nevada has plenty of growers in operation all across the state, the core of the issue has to do with distribution and Nevada’s rules over who is allowed to transport marijuana.
In the follow up to last year’s state popular vote over legalization, which was approved by voters, (allowing people 21 and over to buy up to an ounce of marijuana) Nevada’s alcohol lobby worried that legalized weed would cut into liquor store sales. In order to avoid this, they stated that for the first 18 months of sales, only alcohol distributors would be allowed to transport marijuana from facilities to dispensaries.
State officials and dispensaries had anticipated the problem, and in June the Department of Taxation attempted to loosen the licensing rules to allow dispensaries to transport their own marijuana. A District Court judge blocked the request, stating that Nevada needed to go through the regulatory process to determine how many distributors were needed. The state appealed the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Department of Taxation proposed emergency regulations aimed at increasing the amount of potential marijuana distributors.
If you have been charged with a drug related offense in Bergen County (Hackensack), contact Frank T. Luciano. He has almost 40 years experience in defending cases of this type. He is also a lifetime member of NORML’s legal committee.