Broad Pool of Applicants in Nevada Now Being Accepted for Legal Cannabis Transportation

A broad pool of applicants will now be accepted to potentially receive licenses to transport legal marijuana in Nevada instead of only alcohol distributors. A judge decided in favor of alcohol distributors having exclusive rights to transport legal cannabis in Nevada just before recreational cannabis became available on July 1st.

The judge’s decision resulted in Nevada dispensaries nearly running out of supply and a state-of-emergency being declared in Nevada. Now though, the state has decided to revoke the exclusive rights of alcohol distributors anyways.

Marijuana dispensaries are celebrating after the Nevada Department of Taxation decided to open up pot distribution licenses to a broad pool of applicants rather than allowing liquor wholesalers exclusive rights to the role.

Agency Director Deonne Contine’s determination, which came after a three-hour-long hearing that featured economic projections of marijuana demand and testimony from dispensaries and liquor distributors, means her department can start processing dozens of distribution applications filed by non-liquor licensees. She said some of the new cohort of distributors could be up and running in a week.

“I think the operators and owners who are losing money because of the lack of distribution are very relieved,” said Riana Durrett of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “They’re very happy that this will no longer be the reason this program is at risk.”

The determination could be appealed to the Nevada Tax Commission. An attorney for the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada (IADON), which has been fighting the expansion since March through legal and administrative processes, said the group intends to challenge the latest development in court.

Recreational sales have been legal in Nevada since July 1, and the state now has 53 retail stores and six liquor distributors who are licensed to deliver marijuana. Contine said the only distributor that’s up and running right now is Blackbird Logistics, which had been the sole company delivering medical marijuana in the state before recreational sales began.

Blackbird CEO Tim Conder testified that there have been growing pains for his company, which was the first to receive a distribution license when it was approved in mid-July, once it took on the mantle of serving the entire state. His 30 employees and 12 vehicles have to make 50-150 deliveries a day, and dispensaries testified that the shipments were often not on time.

“I can say without a doubt that Blackbird is not enough,” Conder said. “We cannot make everyone happy although we’d love to. There could easily be at least five other license holders in the state with our size and stature.”

But other liquor distributors argued that’s just what they’re doing. A representative for a partnership between Focus Distribution and liquor licensee-owned Paladin said they had 15 drivers trained and ready to go in both Northern and Southern Nevada next week, with several custom-built refrigerated transport cars on the way. The company expects to handle 200-250 deliveries a day.

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Source: MJFeed

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