Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2019

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Nevada pot licensing chief on leave amid favoritism claims

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 | 12:01 p.m.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's marijuana licensing chief is on leave from his job after allegations of favoritism and improper conduct arose during court hearings about the state's retail pot dispensary application process.

Taxation Department spokesman Ky Plaskon on Tuesday characterized deputy executive Jorge Pupo's administrative leave as a personnel matter. Plaskon declined additional comment.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the move came last week.

Dozens of bidders that didn't get retail marijuana dispensary licenses are suing the state, claiming the application process was riddled with mistakes and bias.

Pupo testified the process wasn't perfect but was impartial.

A judge last month froze store openings for some companies that didn't undergo full background checks before winning licenses.

The lawsuits claim Pupo and other state officials tipped the scales toward some prospective licensees over others.