Judge hears state’s bid for recreational pot sales
CARSON CITY | Nevada’s marijuana regulators are working furiously to launch recreational sales on July 1, a fast-approaching deadline that could hinge on a court deciding whether the powerful liquor industry should be guaranteed a piece of the pot pie before tourists and residents can light up.
Lawyers for the liquor industry, marijuana retailers and the state faced a judge Monday to argue whether Nevada has the authority to issue marijuana distribution licenses to anyone besides alcohol distributors.
The state says it has the power to temporarily license some existing medical marijuana cultivators and retailers to serve as their own middlemen. It wants to get a head-start on collecting millions of dollars in tax revenue devoted to education before permanent rules are required by Jan. 1.
The liquor lobby sued, saying the state didn’t give it the first shot at distribution licenses as called for in the ballot measure approved by voters in November, the only legal pot state with that arrangement.
Carson City District Judge James Wilson blocked all licensing until the matter is resolved.