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No Pot Shortage for Nevada As Marijuana Flows To Dispensaries Again

Ky Plaskon / Capital Public Radio

Kevin Benson of the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada testifies against emergency regulations on marijuana distribution.

Ky Plaskon / Capital Public Radio

Marijuana is rolling into dispensaries again in Nevada after the state licensed two distributors. But those are the only two for the entire state.

The Nevada Department of Taxation has approved emergency measures to cope with a shortage of recreational marijuana in the state.

After three hours of public comment the department unanimously agreed to move forward with emergency measures.

The measures are a work-around to a problem the state is facing. Alcohol distributors are guaranteed exclusive rights to transport marijuana and only two companies have met licensing requirements – that’s leading to a shortage at dispensaries.

Joey Gilbert represents marijuana dispensaries in the state.

“And so to have over $1 million worth of product stuck in our warehouse less than a few miles away because the liquor distributors are having a little tizzy fit is ridiculous,” says Gilbert.

Now, the state will specify licensing requirements and determine if there are enough distributors that can meet them. If there aren’t, others would be allowed to apply and alcohol distributors wouldn’t have a corner on the market anymore.

Attorney Kevin Benson is with the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada and he says the group was “stonewalled” from applying for licenses and now he fears the bar may be set too high.

"That you have to be perfect in order to meet the definition in the regulation and that simply can’t happen because the world is not perfect," says Benson.

The emergency regulations are also to cope with an anticipated budget shortfall if pot supplies dry up. Benson says his clients opposes the emergency measures and may sue, claiming the state doesn’t face an emergency.

"I think that an emergency does mean something truly exigent," says Benson. "Where we are talking about fires, floods an immediate threat to the state budget ,which there is none here. They were not able to articulate any facts that there is actually a budget shortfall."

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