Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Apply for Recreational Licenses Wednesday
Wednesday was the final day to apply for a recreational marijuana license, but some of those licenses have hit a road block.
Wednesday was the final day to apply for a recreational marijuana license, but some of those licenses have hit a road block. When voters approved recreational marijuana, that ballot question said liquor wholesalers would have first crack at getting a distribution license.
Now, a judge says that by opening that licensing process to others, those wholesalers were partially shut out. So now, applications to be a distributor will be accepted from liquor wholesalers past Wednesday’s deadline.
The state department of taxation plans to challenge the ruling, but is going along with it for now.
It's now going to depend on how fast those distribution licenses are granted before recreational marijuana can be bought by July 1st.
At Blüm, a medical marijuana dispensary in Reno, the company is expecting to get their retail license for recreational marijuana, but without a distributor yet to bring it to them, they-could be left waiting.
Blüm has been selling medical marijuana in Reno since January of 2017. Mikel Alvarez, director of retail operations, hopes his company can add more to their sales later this year.
"We hired an additional ten new employees just for recreation sales that are coming in, in addition to my 24 full time employees," says Alvarez.
To apply for recreational sales, it cost Alvarez $20,000 in business fees and $5,000 for a temporary license.
Alvarez says the process to apply has been simple because the regulations of recreational marijuana are similar to medicinal, with one major difference for buyers.
"Medical patients can buy 2 and a half ounces every two weeks, they are tracked in the state portal, under the recreation side, they're not tracked and they can only buy one ounce per transaction," says Alvarez.
Alvarez says he is waiting on legislators to determine how much the state will tax recreational marijuana. He also wants to know if his company will have to stock the medical and recreational inventory differently.
"From our bins in the back to our labels out front, our bar coding will be different colors so we'll be able to handle two different inventories," says Alvarez. "If it's all going to be under one, then we'll have those internal controls and we'll just have our system separate if you're a medical patient versus if you're a recreational patient."
The governor has asked for an additional 10% excise tax on recreational marijuana. Companies like Blüm won’t know what the final tax rate will be, until Senate Bill 487 receives a vote later this week.