Nevada pot companies urge state to reweigh evidence for dispensary license selection process

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will listen to testimony from the rejected applicants Monday and Tuesday


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis firms in Nevada that placed bids for dispensary licenses in December of last year are objecting to the state’s selection process. Licenses were reportedly awarded to 17 cannabis companies.

Unlucky applicants who applied for a license to sell medical cannabis products in a retail setting are asking a judge to re-review the selection process. This is according to a state attorney, who revealed that a number of rejected applicants are hoping to freeze the distribution of licenses until the matter is dealt with.

Nevada’s cannabis laws are some of the most progressive in the U.S.

In comparison to cannabis laws that have been imposed in other states throughout the U.S., Nevada’s cannabis laws are undoubtedly some of the most well-established. A program was launched to provide residents with an opportunity to enroll in the state’s medical cannabis patient program following the approval of Ballot Question 9 in 2000.

Initially, Nevada’s medical cannabis law was put forward in 1998, before being approved by voters two years later. The Nevada Medical Marijuana Act went into effect following the second vote, which passed with 381,947 approval votes. Recreational cannabis became legal in January of 2017, with sales commencing in July.

Nevada’s recreational cannabis market cashed in an impressive $530 million during the first year of legal sales. Combined, medical and recreational cannabis sales in Nevada amounted to $884 million in the second half of 2018.

The facts about Nevada’s multi-day cannabis dispensary license hearing

At the beginning of May, two pot shops in Las Vegas filed a lawsuit against state tax officials. The Dispensary and Planet 13 objected to staffing firm Manpower’s license selection process. The cannabis firms are now asking state tax officials to re-review evidence before issuing the selected licenses.
(Pictured) Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez

A judge is set to continue the hearing this week. Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will listen to testimony from the rejected applicants Monday and Tuesday.

Gonzalez is being asked by Nevada’s attorney Steve Shevorski to “substitute your judgment for the people who scored and weighed the evidence. To have a re-weighing of the evidence.”

The majority of Nevada’s existing dispensaries are clustered around Clark County, Reno-Sparks and Las Vegas. Currently, there are said to be 65 dispensaries scattered throughout the state.

Will Kemp is the lead attorney for Planet 13’s parent company MM Development. He believes that the evidence is sufficient to push the case forward.

“I think the evidence is coming really good for us,” said Kemp. “I think it’s pretty clear that equal treatment was not given to all applicants.”

Cannabis firms that missed out on bagging one of the 61 licenses that were up for grabs in December of last year are opposing the criteria set to score all 462 submitted applications. Luck might not be on their side this time, however; the State is not entirely on board with re-reviewing the evidence.

“In any competition, there will be disappointed participants,” reads a May 20 court filing by the State of Nevada. “A poor outcome for some is not a sound reason for replaying the game. This court should not re-examine the discretion the Legislature granted to the Department (of Taxation) to formulate an impartial scoring system.”