Nevada Moving Quickly Toward Recreational Pot

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Nevada’s recreational marijuana program is on a roll.

The Las Vegas Journal Review reported that an early start to recreational weed sales had cleared the final hurdle, and the roll out is expected to be in place by July 1.

Not bad considering the state approved recreational marijuana only this past November and medical cannabis in 2015.

The Early Start Program would allow current medical marijuana businesses to be the first to participate in the recreational pot industry, Deonne Contine, director of the Nevada Department of Taxation, told NBC News 4.

Most of the new regulations were copied from the state’s medical marijuana program.

“It’s great for the state. It’s great for the industry. I think it’s great for everybody,” said Armen Yemenidjian, owner of Essence Cannabis dispensaries in Las Vegas. “This is a display in how Nevada gets things done.”

The Taxation Department, Nevada’s regulating body for the recreational marijuana industry, will start to accept license applications from existing MMJ licensees on May 15.

These temporary licenses will expire on January 1, giving the Tax Department time to test the regulations before the program goes into full effect in 2018, the director explained.

At least there’s forward movement… but the state needs the money.

Contine stressed the urgency in getting the regulations adopted so the state can meet Governor Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over two years

There’s only one tiny snag—guess from whom?

When the ballot was approved in November, it included a clause that gave licensed liquor distributors an 18-month monopoly on transporting pot from the growing facility to the retail shops.

The lawyer representing the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada wants to hold the state to that.

However, Nevada, with the casinos and all, can be complicated.

Contine has said her department disagrees with the idea of booze distributors having exclusive distribution rights and will accept applications from MMJ companies and distributors, as well as from liquor distributors.

The complication lies in the fact that liquor distributors are licensed federally, and weed is illegal federally.

So, like banks or casinos, if booze distributors participate in a federally illegal market, it could jeopardize their license. But, they have said they don’t care.

Here’s the fine print for the rest of us.

When retailers have their licenses and are up and running, adults in Nevada will be able to legally buy up to an ounce of weed or 1/8 ounce of purified concentrates.

The law also allows up to six marijuana plants to be home grown for personal use.

Onward, Silver State!

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