Even with the COVID pandemic waning, state tax officials told legislators this month that Nevadans have made what appear to be some permanent shifts in how they buy legal marijuana through pick-up and delivery modes.
Klimas said he expects the start of a new licensing process for cannabis consumption lounges later this year will help diversify the industry.
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Lawmakers took a major step this session to expand and diversify the industry’s disproportionately white and male ownership and also provide tourists with a place to legally consume marijuana by creating a new license type for cannabis consumption lounges.
The study proposes examining the available funding sources for research on the plant and reviewing current trends in the hemp industry along with researching innovative methods and legislation to spur industry growth. It would also focus on programs designed to promote economic development in coordination with hemp cultivation businesses and the production and sale of hemp products.
“Many of those are interested in trying cannabis, but there's nowhere they can legally do so. They can't bring it into their hotel rooms. They can't consume outside. As a result, many of them end up breaking the law.”
Proponents commissioned an analysis from RGC Economics that projected the state could support up to 1,283 additional dispensaries. Nevada’s marijuana market grossed nearly $700 million last fiscal year and is on track to break that record this fiscal year.
“These arbitrary limits were enacted at a time when Nevada imposed blanket prohibition on the possession and use of cannabis for any purpose. This is not the case any longer. Hasn't been for some time.”
Marijuana business owners and board members in Nevada are disproportionately white and male, while the industry workforce is made up of a greater proportion of people of color, according to a new demographic report on the state’s cannabis industry.
Public health officials have set their sights on raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco products to 21, providing clearer labeling for cannabis products, improving youth education on cannabis and vaping and gathering more data on cannabis use.
“These final appointments to the CCB each bring their own unique expertise and insight to the table,” Sisolak said in a tweet. “I am confident their contributions to this board will only amplify the sound judgment and strong regulation carried out by the CCB.”
While the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did extend the eviction moratorium until the end of the calendar year — beyond the state’s moratorium ending Oct. 14 — the state’s rental assistance program continues to trickle out funds relatively slowly.
Her order gave credence to many of the complaints brought by plaintiffs who did not win coveted and limited dispensary licenses in 2018 and argued the state’s process for vetting applications was marred by favoritism and shifting standards midway through the process.
“With these guardrails in place, CCB staff now has the tools to ensure licensees understand that full compliance, including any tax obligations, must be fully resolved before license renewal will be considered,” Klimas said.
“I'm fully aware from all of the public comment and the proceedings before the Tax Commission that there were significant issues that led to this litigation,” said board member Dennis Neilander. “Certainly we're not equipped to retry these issues that are in trial now. And in the interest of providing a fresh start for us, we need to deal with these legacy issues.”
Commissioners unanimously voted on Friday to approve the settlement, which involves some 17 plaintiffs and reshuffles some of the licenses that the state awarded in the disputed 2018 application round. It comes in the middle of a trial so big that it had to be moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center and as part of a consolidated lawsuit with so many parties it has earned the nickname “World War Weed.”
There’s still much work to be done in an industry in flux. Marijuana businesses are just emerging from a monthslong freeze of license transfers, a massive court battle over a contentious state licensing round continues, and regulators have raised serious questions about whether independent labs fudged product test results to curry favor from the marijuana businesses that pay them.
A series of lawsuits dating back more than a year and a half accused the state of unfair practices in deciding in 2018 who should receive coveted and strictly limited licenses to expand the number of retail marijuana locations of their business.
According to the complaint, during less than three months in 2019, the company sold 1,793 products that did not have a certificate of analysis indicating they were laboratory tested. The company also allegedly had more than 4,100 marijuana plants that were not registered in the state’s tracking database.