weather icon Clear

Nevada marijuana shops soon can restock retail product

Updated July 13, 2017 - 11:30 pm

After two weeks of watching inventory dwindle, Nevada pot shops will soon be able to restock their shelves.

The state awarded its first marijuana distribution licenses to a pair of alcohol wholesalers, and those companies can begin transporting marijuana products from cultivation and production facilities to dispensaries, Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein said Thursday.

This means that some two weeks after Nevada cannabis stores started legally selling recreational marijuana, they can restock their supplies.

“It takes that worry away. Definitely,” said Armen Yemenidjian, CEO of Essence Cannabis Dispensaries. “We’re just happy that we now get to concentrate on the experience and the customer as opposed to everything else.”

Also Thursday, during a feisty meeting, the state Tax Commission unanimously approved emergency regulations that will let it expand who can apply for distribution licenses. That could bring about another legal challenge from a group of alcohol wholesalers.

First licenses

The state’s first marijuana distribution license went to Crooked Wine, a federally licensed liquor distributor based in Reno, Klapstein said. Crooked Wine will not distribute the pot to stores.

Klapstein said Crooked partnered with Blackbird Logistics, the main distributor for Nevada medical marijuana companies. With the partnership, Crooked will hold the license while Blackbird acts as its agent for marijuana distribution. Crooked Wine will continue alcohol distribution, although that license could be in jeopardy if federal regulators have a problem with the setup for marijuana, which is federally illegal.

The second license went to Las Vegas-based Rebel One.

Both Blackbird (through Crooked’s license) and Rebel One can immediately begin distribution, Klapstein said.

“They are licensed, and they can start,” Klapstein said.

Having licensed distributors means the nearly 50 marijuana dispensaries in Nevada will be able to restock their shelves for the first time since retail sales began on July 1.

“The relief is that it’s not all going to come to a stop,” said Riana Durrett, executive director for the Nevada Dispensary Association.

But Durrett said two or even three distributors won’t be able to fully serve the industry. More distributors are needed to keep distribution prices from spiking and to ensure all distribution demands are met, she said.

Emergency regulations passed

The Tax Commission’s passage of the emergency regulations signed last week by Gov. Brian Sandoval will give the state more discretion in dishing out distribution licenses.

Before the vote, the meeting got testy as state officials, commissioners and marijuana advocates verbally sparred with alcohol distributors.

Kevin Benson, attorney for the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, said the emergency regulations were not well thought out and might even be invalid if adopted.

Benson said the problem has only arisen because the tax department rushed to get sales rolling by July 1. The ballot measure mandated sales by Jan. 1, 2018.

And he said he doesn’t believe that the emergency regulations would be valid unless the state could prove a delay would cause a budget shortfall.

“There’s no emergency here,” Benson said during the meeting.

Deonne Contine, executive director of the Tax Department, admitted to rushing the process but said the department has been working with alcohol distributors for over a month to try to get them licenses, she said.

As for the budget shortfall, Contine said it’s pretty simple.

“I know for a fact that if we don’t have the product at the stores, the businesses can’t sell the product and the tax can’t be collected,” she said.

Fight not over

The fight over these distribution licenses isn’t over. Commissioner Thom Sheets said after the vote that he was told liquor distributors planned to file a restraining order against the state in response to the regulations.

Benson, the IADON attorney from Carson City, did not immediately respond to request from comments Thursday evening.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Pot distribution in Nevada

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Nevada marijuana license ruling could come next week

A Nevada judge said Friday she expects next week to finish hearing a case involving dozens of companies that lost bids to open new retail pot stores asking her to stop the state from licensing more marijuana businesses.

California to increase enforcement against illegal pot shops

California is planning to intensify its enforcement against the state’s thriving illegal marijuana market, including launching an ad campaign Friday that urges consumers to seek out licensed shops with safe products.

Officials raid 247 Colorado homes growing black market pot

Authorities said Friday they raided hundreds of black market marijuana operations in Colorado that flouted the state’s cannabis law by growing tens of thousands of plants in Denver-area homes and selling the drugs out of state.

Governor announces plan to legalize marijuana in Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday he’s reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.