Pot distribution limited

After the state Taxation Department said it was going to start issuing marijuana distribution licenses to businesses other than alcohol wholesalers, Nevada District Judge James Russell said no, it would not.

The ballot measure approved by voters in November gave liquor wholesalers an 18-month monopoly on marijuana distribution. The Taxation Department reached a finding that the wholesalers are unable to keep up with demand and threw licensure open to others.

But Russell, acting at the request of Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, found that the meeting at which Taxation acted had been stacked against the wholesalers, so he issued an order stopping the expanded licensure.

“On August 7, 2017, the [Taxation] Department posted an agenda and notice that it would hold a meeting on sufficiency on August 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm in the afternoon,” Russell wrote in his order. “No supporting materials were provided prior to the meeting, nor was it disclosed that the Department would present four witnesses all representatives of the marijuana establish[ments], and all of whom would advocate for finding that alcohol distributors are insufficient to serve the market. … The meeting did not provide any opportunity for anyone to ask questions of the witnesses or to review the data and information the Department relied upon when making its decision.”

This is the second time Russell has issued an order stopping Taxation from expanding distribution to other businesses. The state has treated a lack of product in marijuana shops as an “emergency.”