Nevada Still Plans to Issue Marijuana Licenses July 1 - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Nevada Still Plans to Issue Marijuana Licenses July 1

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Following a Monday court hearing, Judge James Wilson has said that he will make a decision tomorrow on the current recreational marijuana distribution license ban.

At the hearing, members with the Department of Taxation said they still intend to issue marijuana licenses by the July 1st deadline. However, alcohol distributors like Allan Nassau with Red Rock Wines, says they deserve exclusive rights to those licenses.

"We want what the people of Nevada voted for which was to include alcohol distributors to provide checks and balances," says Nassau.

Nassau says when the Department of Taxation opened the application process to medical marijuana establishments, liquor distributors say their exclusive rights were taken, allowing for what they believe would be a monopoly for pot shops.

Deonne Contine, director of the Nevada Department of Taxation  says there aren't enough alcohol distributors in the state, so they needed to open up application to more establishments to ensure smooth operations.

"We couldn't operate this business and knowing that my task force says we need to get this up and running by July 1st, I needed to kind of have a back up plan," says Contine.

Until Nevada regulators life the current ban, no licenses will be issued.

The deputy director of Nevada's Department of Taxation says state regulators still intend to have the necessary licenses in place July 1 to start selling marijuana for recreational use despite an ongoing lawsuit over the regulations.
    
Anna Thornley testified in Carson City District Court on Monday that the state has planned since February to have the "early start" program up and running by July to start bringing in tax revenue before a permanent system must be adopted on Jan. 1, 2018.
    
Thornley says none of the 90 applications received for distribution licenses have been approved so far. Five of those are from liquor wholesalers and the other 85 are from existing medical marijuana dispensaries.
    
Thornley says some of the applications are incomplete and have been returned to the applicants to provide additional information. But she told Judge James Wilson, "It's the department's intention to issue licenses by July 1."
    
The hearing is expected to last all day.

Lawyers for the alcohol distributors, marijuana retailers are arguing over whether the state can 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.

The liquor lobby says the law gives it the first shot at licenses, the only legal pot state with that arrangement.

Carson City District Judge James Wilson has blocked all licensing until the matter is resolved.

(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)

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