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Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Nevada mulling state of emergency over pot shortage

Nevada mulling state of emergency over pot shortage

Gov. Brian Sandoval is calling for a "state of emergency" - because the state's marijuana dispensaries are running out of pot, just a week after it was legalized in Nevada. This emergency regulation is to be voted on this Thursday.

Since numerous stores ran out of marijuana to sell, state officials became anxious that the rule could negatively affect the state's bottom line. Wholesale alcohol distributors have exclusive rights to transport wholesale marijuana for the first 18 months of legal sales, but the state has issued zero distribution licenses due to legal issues, incomplete applications, and zoning laws.

In the first four days that Nevada residents could legally purchase marijuana for recreational uses, state retailers made $3 million in sales-and lined the state government's coffers to the tune of a cool $500,000 in tax revenues, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Dispensaries in the state celebrated the change by opening their stores at midnight the day the sales became legal, expecting large crowds in the stores and even setting off fireworks.

The issue seems to be a bureaucratic one, mostly stemming from rules that the state of Nevada initially imposed on legal marijuana sales.

The objective of this arrangement is to "promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol", and to help protect liquor stores from losing business as the demand for recreational marijuana rises, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Nevada's Department of Taxation said stores are quickly running out of marijuana, according to a report by the Reno Gazette-Journal. The tax department is appealing the decision. Klapstein warned that the lack of supply could lead to job losses at the dispensaries and lost money for the state's schools, which benefit from a 15% tax on marijuana cultivation.

"The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state", reads the statement.

Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein told the Reno Gazette-Journal said that most liquor wholesalers "don't yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them". These businesses have recently hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the increased demand of adult-use.

But a statement of emergency could help dispensaries restock their marijuana inventories.

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