Nevada opens up 84 potential recreational marijuana licenses to limited field

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Nevada mountains, photo by Andrey Grinkevich

Nearly a year after giving its recreational marijuana program an early start, Nevada is making additional licenses available, but only for businesses that already have permanent or provisional medical marijuana certificates.

The program expansion comes at a time when the industry still is growing at a healthy clip: In March, medical and recreational cannabis sales totaled $49.6 million, up nearly 25% from $39.9 million in July 2017, according to statistics released by the state.

Rec MJ sales alone topped $41 million in March, the most recent figures available.

The application period for the additional opportunities runs June 13-23, according to Stephanie Klapstein, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Taxation.

In an email to Marijuana Business Daily, Klaptstein noted:
  • Medical marijuana establishments that don’t already have adult-use licenses can try to acquire the same number and type of licenses they hold in the medical program. Under this category, she wrote, a maximum of 13 adult-use licenses could be issued in total, including seven cultivation, four processing, one retail and one lab.
  • An additional 71 provisional MMJ certificate holders are eligible to apply for adult-use licenses under the same type, with this breakdown: 44 cultivation, 23 processing, three retail and one lab.

Under law, the Nevada Department of Taxation has 90 days to approve or deny an application.

Later this summer or early fall, the state will open applications for existing MMJ certificate holders to apply for any type and number of adult-use licenses, Klapstein said.

The state so far has issued 61 adult-use retail store licenses. Available licenses are based on population per county, up to the statewide cap of 132.

On Nov. 16, the statutory period of exclusivity ends. At that point, any person – regardless of whether he or she is already in the marijuana business – is eligible to apply for any license type.

But the state doesn’t know when it might hold an application period after that date, Klapstein said.