Nevada Declares State of Emergency Over Legal Weed Shortage

PHOTOGRAPH: Katheirne Hitt/Flickr under Creative Commons |

A week after sales of recreational marijuana officially started, Nevada has already run out of its legal weed supply. Governor Brian Sandoval immediately declared a state of emergency Friday, urging constituents to adopt some new regulation to encourage more production. 

About 50 dispensaries in the state have licenses to sell recreational marijuana. Those sales got underway on July 1. However, those same retailers do not legally have the authority to restock their inventories.  The initiative authorizing the sales, passed in November last year, gave the exclusive rights to transport product for the first 18 months of business to liquor distributors. 

Per Business Insider, this regulation is to “promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol” and protect liquor stores from losing business as the demand for legal weed rises. 

As of Friday, however, the Department of Taxation had issued zero distribution licenses to alcohol wholesalers chiefly due to incomplete applications and zoning issues. The stock being sold from dispensaries were still from July 1 and most of them are already running out of supply. They will need to restock in a matter of days, otherwise, risk having to fire new hires or go out of business altogether.

Nevada state spokesperson Stephanie Klapstein told USA Today, “Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately.”

The statement of emergency should provide relief, allowing the department to issue distribution licenses to a bigger pool applicants, including those outside the alcohol business. The Nevada Tax Commission is scheduled to make a vote on the regulation on Thursday, July 13.

Residents and tourists who are 21 and over can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates but only while supplies last.

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A Mass Communication graduate, Necta has been writing news and other digital content for over 2 years now. She's a movie buff and a sucker for Korean dramas.