Las Vegas Sun

February 18, 2018

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Judge mulling Nevada bid for recreational pot sales July 1

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L.E. Baskow

Various marijuana strains stored at The Source dispensary facility newly opened in Henderson, numerous edible marijuana products are also available there too on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

The fate of the Nevada marijuana industry’s July 1 start date for recreational sales will wait at least one more day, as a judge in Carson City did not rule Monday on whether to prolong a temporary restraining order against the granting of pot-distribution licenses to anyone other than alcohol distributors.

District Judge James Wilson heard eight hours of arguments Monday, just six days after ruling that a lawsuit from the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada against the state’s recreational marijuana regulating body should not immediately be thrown out.

Wilson issued a temporary restraining order by request of the alcohol distributors on May 30, banning the Nevada Department of Taxation from allowing anyone other than alcohol distributors to apply for a license.

Ballot Question 2, passed by voters in November to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada, gives exclusive recreational weed distribution rights to alcohol distributors in the state unless the department determines “an insufficient number of marijuana distributors would result from this limitation.”

The Taxation Department initially published in March that the limitation did in fact result in an insufficient number of distributors. But in its final regulations in May, the department said that determination would be made after all applications were processed.

Only five of 93 applications for recreational marijuana distribution licenses through Monday had come from alcohol distributors, according to information provided by Taxation Department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein.

The alcohol distributors have requested a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, would remove the 88 other applicants from the distribution process, and could delay the program’s start date on July 1.

The recreational marijuana business, expected to generate more than $30 million a year in tax revenue, was officially to start next January. But the decision was made to get off to an early start.

Sun reporter Cy Ryan contributed to this report.

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