Nevada on July 1 became the fifth state to sell recreational marijuana to the public, and one week later, it declared an emergency. But the chaos is on the licensing side of things. The new law allows those 21 and up to buy up to an ounce of pot from what are 47 licensed dispensaries, reports the AP. The problem, explains Vice News, is that the only way for dispensaries to legally get pot for the next 18 months is via wholesale liquor distributors, who secured the exclusive right via a November ballot measure. But of the seven liquor distributors to have applied for a license to restock dispensaries, zero have "met the application requirements." That's where the statement of emergency, signed Friday by Gov. Brian Sandoval, comes in.
It says the emergency regulation is needed to allow the Department of Taxation to figure out whether limiting licenses to liquor dealers will result in an insufficient number of pot distributors in the state. This is a real concern, because without pot sales, "the State will not realize the revenue on which the State budget relies." Indeed, the Las Vegas Sun reports the first four days of sales brought in $500,000 in tax revenue, with the six-month tax estimate set at $30 million. The whole thing has been a bit of a saga: In mid-June, liquor distributors won a preliminary injunction banning the state from handing out licenses to other entities, Reason notes. As for how pot sales have happened to date, dispensaries were able to stock up pre-July 1. But "some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days," a rep for the department said in an email to the Reno Gazette-Journal Friday. (Read more marijuana legalization stories.)