Nevada Cannabis License Applications Stream in as Deadline Approaches

Published on May 31, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Nevada state Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, smells a sample of marijuana, Friday, March 24, 2017, as Christopher Price, a ''budtender'' at the Blum medical marijuana dispensary, describes the operation during a brief tour a the store on South Virginia Street, about a mile south of the main casino district, in Reno, Nev. A Las Vegas Democrat is seeking to start recreational marijuana sales in Nevada at least a few weeks earlier than currently planned, in mid-June. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

Today’s the deadline to apply for a license to operate a Nevada cannabis business, and the applications are streaming in. Already the state Department of Taxation has received more than 143 license applications, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Deonne Contine, the director of the Department of Taxation, told the Las Vegas Sun that “most, if not all” of the adult-use license applications received so far have come from entities already licensed through Nevada’s medical marijuana program.

The applications represent not only retailers, but also wholesalers, growers, processors, and others, Contine added. The department wants to issue licenses by July 1 so the state’s cannabis market can launch on schedule.

Though some Nevada lawmakers would like to begin early sales on July 1, bills remain in the Legislature that would address certain tax issues and set additional regulations.

One point of contention is how Nevada’s adult-use law will integrate with the state’s medical marijuana program. On Tuesday, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee heard testimony in favor of keeping the medical program separate from the adult-use market. Currently, the programs are set to merge under the Department of Taxation.

Keeping the medical program strong and patient-focused has been a main concern of many in the state, especially given frustration by patients in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado who have seen price increases and product shortages in their medical marijuana programs since adult-use implementation.

Others have expressed concerns that the state’s launch of an adult-use market could invite a crackdown from the Trump administration that could threaten state’s medical program. Key administration officials have disparaged legal cannabis in recent months and pledged to review federal enforcement policies in legal states.

Cannabis Lounges Not Coming to Sin City—Yet

When businesses do open, don’t expect to be able to light up a blunt at the Bellagio’s blackjack tables. Sen. Tick Segerblom’s Senate Bill 236, which would’ve legalized cannabis lounges to provide tourists a place to consume socially, failed to gain traction in the Assembly before this past Friday’s deadline. It’s on hold at least until next session.

The proposal would have allowed cannabis clubs in open areas where gaming was not the focal point, while also allowing promoters the ability to apply for special licenses to allow consumption at festivals and other events. It passed the Senate on a 12–9 vote.

Had the bill made it through the full Legislature, there were still no guarantee Gov. Brian Sandoval  would sign it into law. He’s said he’s not so sure social consumption is a good thing for the state.

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“The Governor has called for Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry to be restricted, responsible, and ultimately respected,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He is doubtful whether ‘pot lounges’ would achieve these stated goals but will review the legislation should it arrive on his desk for signature.”

Colorado recently attempted to pass a similar measure, but it failed to make it out of Legislature. Oregon lawmakers are also weighing social-use legislation, SB 307, which has the support of Portland officials.

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Gage Peake
Gage Peake
Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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