Lines of customers numbering in the hundreds waiting to purchase a product that retailers can barely keep on the shelves. Legal battles. Emergency regulations.
Such is the norm for recreational cannabis sales in Nevada — the Silver State’s newest revenue stream that, only three weeks old, already befits the Wild West.
Since recreational marijuana sales became legal on July 1, dispensaries have faced the challenge of meeting the demand for a product the public can’t seem to get enough of. The Reno Gazette-Journal, also of the USA Today Network, reported unofficial opening weekend sales totals approached $3 million statewide, with $1 million going back to the state in tax revenue.
A seemingly insatiable appetite for their product created an initial quandary for dispensaries: Many of them nearly sold out and were unable to replenish their stock due to an ongoing struggle over distribution rights.
When dispensaries opened for business, a recent court decision allowing alcohol distributors dibs on transporting the product around the state was in effect. As a result, dispensaries stocked up on cannabis not knowing when their next shipment would come.
Less than a week after opening it was widely reported dispensaries were running low on cannabis and he Department of Taxation had not yet issued distribution licenses to any of the seven applications submitted from liquor distributors.
Representatives for the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada (IADON) say the Department of Taxation rushed regulations to open sales by July 1 and did not provide enough time for the application process, which opened on May 8 and had a May 31 deadline. They also criticized the department’s conclusion that there weren’t enough wholesale liquor distributors to serve the market.