Nevada takes steps to end the great legal weed shortage of 2017

After nearly two weeks of dispensaries selling recreational marijuana without a way to restock their shelves, the pot will soon start flowing in Nevada.
July 14, 2017, 8:39am

After nearly two weeks of Nevada dispensaries selling recreational marijuana without a way to restock their shelves, the pot will soon start flowing around the state again.

The Nevada Department of Taxation unanimously approved emergency measures on Thursday to expand who’s allowed to move pot from growers to the dispensaries where it’s sold. The measures come after more than a week of dwindling supplies that caused dispensaries to lose money and even get robbed.

Weed became legal for recreational use in Nevada on July 1 without anyone licensed to transport the drug and refill dispensaries’ initial supplies. While the state had given alcohol distributors sole rights for the first 18 months of sales, a court battle and bureaucracy kept any licenses from being approved for nearly the first two weeks.

As of Thursday, the same day the tax department was set to hear the emergency proposal it approved, at least two distributors were finally licensed, director Deonne Contine told the Los Angeles Times.

Under the tax department’s expanded regulations, distributors licensed to transport pot in the medical marijuana market, which began operating in the state in 2001, could gain access to the recreational market, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Exactly who will be allowed to move weed hasn’t been decided yet.

The Department of Taxation proposed the emergency regulations on July 6, and Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican who didn’t support the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana, endorsed them a day later.

Despite the new rules on distribution, the ongoing supply crisis threatens an industry worth an estimated $100 million in taxes to the state.

But tax dollars aren’t the only concern. Anticipating a shortage before legal sales even started, distributors had been stockpiling weed — and getting looted. One distributor, Braly Joy, told VICE News that $50,000 in merchandise had been stolen from his dispensary in Las Vegas.