Nevada’s marijuana regulators believe they have found a way around a judge’s order that threatens to block the state’s first recreational marijuana sales scheduled to begin next month.
Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday signed an emergency regulation intended to allow rec sales to start July 1 at some existing medical dispensaries.
Under the regulation, any legally licensed retailer that has product remaining from its MMJ program will be allowed to sell the goods for recreational use effective July 1.
Businesses will be permitted to sell rec cannabis only if “the inventory they sell as retail meets the packaging and labeling requirements in the emergency regulation we will have adopted Monday,” Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said Friday. The packaging and labeling provision is to ensure the safety of under-age individuals.
Klapstein also emphasized those retail sales could be short-lived. “Once that inventory runs out, without distributors, they are not going to be able to restock,” she said.
The emergency regulation could extend to as many as 25 medical dispensaries in the Las Vegas area and four in Reno.
Klapstein also said the agency plans to issue recreational retail licenses next week even if it doesn’t approve any distribution licenses caught up in a district judge’s court order.
The judge ruled this week that, under a ballot measure approved by voters, licensed alcohol wholesalers have exclusive rights to marijuana distribution licenses for 18 months. The distribution exclusivity was the core of a lawsuit filed by the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada to halt the issuance of distribution licenses.
The judge’s stay looked as if it would impede the early rollout of Nevada’s adult-use industry until the emergency regulation was enacted.
– Associated Press