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Up in Smoke: Nevada Declares State of Emergency Over Weed Shortage

CC0 / / Cannabis
Cannabis - Sputnik International
The Nevada Tax Commission has declared that many of the state’s marijuana dispensaries have run out of weed, prompting Governor Brian Sandoval to endorse a state of emergency. This comes less than two weeks after recreational marijuana was legalized in the state.

"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 tax authority said in a statement. It added that officials are considering emergency regulations, whereby a structure would be put in place that would allow liquor wholesalers and others retailers to distribute marijuana.

"Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days,” the statement added. 

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Nevada’s liquor industry has sued the state for the right to distribute weed, but the commission says most liquor wholesalers that have applied for marijuana distribution licenses don’t meet the requirements.

Nevada has appealed to the state’s supreme court on the matter.

"The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state,” the commission said in its statement. "They have hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the demands of the market. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many of these people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt. A halt in this market will lead to a hole in the state’s school budget."

State Senator Tick Segerblom (D-NV) told NBC News, "It’s pretty amazing for our governor, who publicly opposed [recreational marijuana legalization], to now come full circle … He has bent over backwards to make sure this happened. It’s very exciting." 

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Segerblom advocated for the legalization of marijuana and even has a strain of weed named after him.

In a statement to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein wrote, "We continue to work with the liquor wholesalers who have applied for distribution licenses, but most don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them. Even as we attempted to schedule the final facility inspection for one of the applicants this week, they told us their facility was not ready and declined the inspection."

Recreational marijuana was approved by Nevada voters in November, and the Nevada Dispensary Association said that sales totaled around $3 million the first weekend of availability.

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