Judge repairs cannabis distribution shortage in Nevada for the second time


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

A Nevada judge cleared the way for state cannabis regulators to start issuing distribution licenses to businesses other than existing alcohol wholesalers. Again.

Carson City District Judge James Russell lifted a temporary restraining order Thursday which forced the state to follow a provision of the ballot measure voters approved in November, giving liquor wholesalers exclusive rights to cannabis distribution for 18 months unless they couldn’t keep up with market demand.

Russell said there is overwhelming evidence where alcohol wholesalers don’t have the capability to meet the needs of social use dispensaries in the state.

Nevada’s Taxation Department argued the protracted legal fight had created a delivery bottleneck which undermined an otherwise robust cannabis industry.

Legal sales started with a bang July 1, but the distribution network’s inability to keep pace with demand forced up prices and sent buyers back to the black market.

Russell said alcohol distributors which filed suit over the matter are free to appeal their case to the Nevada Tax Commission, but he has no power to go around the authority of the state agency which determined there’s an insufficient number of wholesalers to handle the job.