Nevada Governor Declares “State of Emergency” Over Depleted Marijuana Supply
Dispensaries may only have enough marijuana on hand to last a couple more days.
Nevada dispensaries have sold so much recreational marijuana since the launch of the state’s early sales program on July 1 that they are actually running out of product. This unexpected shortage of the mighty green has forced Governor Brian Sandoval to issue a “Statement of Emergency,” according to a recent report from the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Last Friday, the governor signed off on emergency regulations brought forward by the Department of Taxation that would put more distributors to work in an effort to remedy the state’s untimely depletion of retail marijuana.
Only around 50 dispensaries have been given permission to temporarily sell recreational weed while the state works out the regulatory affairs of the fully legal market set to launch in 2018. But because of a legal debacle that gives the state’s alcohol wholesalers exclusive rights to the distribution of recreational reefer, none of the dispensaries can legally restock their own shelves.
In fact, due to the case being jammed up in court, the state has not yet issued a single license that allows the booze trade to transport recreational marijuana to dispensaries. Nevada is now leaning on the state’s Supreme Court to bring the situation to a close.
With reports estimating that area dispensaries generated in upwards of $3 million within the first four days of early pot sales, it is easy to see how the situation has prompted a deficit in retail availability.
"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," Stephanie Klapstein, a spokesperson for the Department of Taxation, told the Gazette-Journal.
The inability to put recreational marijuana on the shelves immediately could present a number of hardships for the cannabis industry. The problem also does not bode well for the state budget.
"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," the department said in a statement.
But even if the emergency regulations are pushed through, there is still concern that recreational reefer will be scarce throughout the summer months, as many cultivation operations are smack dab in the middle of a grow cycle. It is also likely that dispensaries will sell out of certain strains long before cultivation centers have new products ready for distribution.