Legalized recreational marijuana is a hit in Nevada, so much so that the state’s pot stores are almost out of supply after just 10 days.
Nevada’s Department of Taxation said stores are quickly running out of marijuana, according to a report by the Reno Gazette-Journal. The problem is pretty simple: There’s no supply for a booming demand.
While the state licensed nearly 50 dispensaries to sell pot, the shops do not have the authority to resupply their inventories. That must be done by alcohol wholesalers, which were given exclusive rights to distribute marijuana as a compromise to a liquor industry that was worried pot sales would cut into profits. But as of Friday, no wholesalers had been granted licenses to distribute pot because “most don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them,” Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein told the Gazette-Journal.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday endorsed the tax department’s call for a state of emergency that would allow emergency regulations to expand the pool of potential distributors to end the shortage. The state’s tax commission plans to vote on the emergency measure Thursday.
That may be too late for many dispensaries, “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,” Klapstein told the Gazette-Journal.
The problem doesn’t just affect pot users. 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. An additional 10% marijuana sales tax goes into the state’s rainy-day fund.
Dispensaries began selling marijuana on July 1, and allow customers age 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana, or an eighth of an ounce in edibles. The Nevada Dispensary Association reported $3 million in sales — and almost $1 million in tax revenue — between July 1 and July 4.