Social cannabis sales in Nevada slow due to lack of distributors


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Sales from Nevada’s social cannabis program had dropped 20 to 30 percent since it launched in July, according to a report from the Nevada Department of Taxation.

A shortage of cannabis distributors left retail operations with inventory of less than half of the product they originally purchased.

Dispensaries are presently waiting up to two weeks for deliveries. In order to keep up with demand, they will need nine to 11 deliveries per week and must be allowed to give distributors shorter notice time for their orders.

“These retail cannabis businesses are struggling without a robust distribution system. Cultivators and producers have product sitting for days waiting to be delivered to stores while the quality of the product degrades, ” said Deonne Contine, director of the Nevada Department of Taxation, in the report. “Retailers do not have the products their customers desire, products that are legal and should be available to them.”

The report was based on surveys filled out by five dozen cannabis establishments and more than a dozen alcohol distributors, an effort which resulted from emergency regulation to ease the cannabis shortage.

Alcohol distributors were given exclusive rights to distribute cannabis in November, but the state determined there are not enough alcohol distributors qualified for the job at this time. The emergency regulation opened the application process up to more than 80 cannabis establishments who wish to distribute.

Funds from the 15 percent cultivation tax on cannabis products in Nevada will go toward schools, while the 10 percent collected tax from social cannabis will go toward the state’s rainy day fund.