It’s been less than a week since Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana and the dispensaries surrounding Las Vegas are already running out of weed. The odd development isn’t totally unexpected — Canada is considering how they can bolster their legal stash ahead of the country’s legalization in 2018, and Colorado went through these growing pains ahead of recreational legalization in 2013.
Since Vegas dispensaries opened their doors, they’ve been met with lines around the building and stacks on stacks of cash ready and waiting to be spent on buds.
According to The Nevada Dispensary Association, there has been near $3 million in marijuana sales in just a week, which translates to about a million dollars in tax revenue for the state. To put this in perspective, the man who championed the legalization, State Senator Tick Segerblom, said sales of recreational weed could generate at a minimum $60 million in revenue for the state over the next two years. It seems like he underestimated Vegas’ want for weed.
This has led to Governor Brian Sandoval endorsing a “statement of emergency” that will allow a “fast track approval process” for distributors. The Reno Gazette-Journal has reported that the Nevada Tax Commission will vote on the regulation Thursday, with department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein making a statement, or a plea, that they need more marijuana and they need it fast, lest an entire industry come to a sudden halt.
“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. Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days.
The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state. 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.”
Unfortunately, much of this shortage is stuck behind red tape and a major, for lack of better word, bottleneck. The first 18 months of Nevada’s marijuana distribution is tied exclusively to liquor wholesalers, rather than marijuana companies. So, a marijuana dispensary can only receive its supply from a licensed distributor, who are essentially out of pot. They’re dry. If they can grant more licenses to more distributors, the flow will open until they run out of weed again, because the grow houses are already running low considering the roughly year-long grow cycle, says to the Gazette-Journal.