Judge hears state’s bid for recre­ational pot sales

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

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