On Building A Consumer Friendly Market In Nevada

For decades, Las Vegas has been a place known to play fast and loose – and this is even becoming evident in our emerging Marijuana Industry. On January 16, 2018, hundreds of citizens, business owners, and marijuana consumers met to provide public comment on the proposed set of permanent regulations issued by the Nevada Department of Taxation at a public hearing. Taxation in Nevada certifies, audits, coordinates and educates hundreds of state-certified marijuana establishments such as dispensaries, cultivation facilities, production facilities and independent testing laboratories. In 2016, over 600,000 Nevadan’s voted to legalize marijuana, giving the Department of Taxation the authority to regulate the operation of Marijuana Establishments, award and limit licensing, and carry-out other provisions of ballot measure 2. However, due to lack of transparency in the scoring process outlined in the proposed regulations for how these licenses are awarded, dozens went on the record to speak out to the Commision in opposition.

There were many areas of concern, but because there is little clarity on how the applications for licenses are granted, it would appear there is instead, favors being given to Insiders. Multiple licenses of varying types are being awarded to the same small group of millionaires, allowing for extremely monopolistic practices. When an entity is able to cultivate, produce and dispense all of their own product, there is little incentive to vertically integrate other brands. Cultivators of great brands without a dispensing license are unable to sell their own product, leaving the success of their business in the hands of Dispensaries. In addition, license holders are able to resell licenses, and due to a cap on how many will be issued, the current value of a license is approximately $10 million. This bears significance on who is able to establish themselves in this surfacing industry and is shutting potential small businesses and minorities out. This over-burdened cost to obtain a license dramatically impacts the price tag on products available in the marketplace. Including the marijuana tax, ? of cannabis in Las Vegas is on average $65! Patients and locals have not only been faced with extreme costs but competition with tourists, resulting in limited availability.

After nearly 3 hours of public comment, the Taxation Commision still made a motion to move forward with the proposal after ZERO deliberation. Because it’s not too late, we are asking Nevadans to urge the Legislation to insist the Department of Taxation extend their deadline of March 1st in order to revisit the verbiage, paying close attention to what the Department can and cannot do according to Question 2. With other States looking at Nevada as a model for a successful program, it is vital the regulations be revisited to ensure fairness and inclusion instead of monopolies and reverting back to old Las Vegas ways.

Frank Sinatra once said, “Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks–it says, “Goodbye,”.”

Madisen Saglibene is the Executive Director of Las Vegas NORML. 

Visit their website at http://lvnorml.org/ and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

5 thoughts

  1. Ten m m m million? Holy shit!
    Took a look on Leafly, curious about consumer prices, and they did seem a bit high, at a glance.

    Nevadans, speak out!

  2. I can’t help but chuckle… Vermont passed our nation’s first depenalized cultivation and possession of marijuana through the state legislative process… Las Vegas NORML… you can use this in your next Federal or state court case!

    And the next time anyone in Vegas gets popped for off the job marijuana consumption without due process? Look at the Massachussetts case of Barbuto vs Advantage Sales and Marketing and drill the defendant for damages!!!

  3. Thanks, Madisen. Vegas was a great win, and the retail market should take off full force in Nevada! The tourism would SKYROCKET and it would be a great beauty to see! Come on, Nevada! And Vegas will be so much more fun!

  4. I’m a 64y/o disabled Veteran. I’ve been on one form of morphine or another since returning from the gulf war in 1991, where I was a UH60Blackhawk pilot. 11/2 yrs ago a childhood friend introduced me to marijuana. It wasn’t long I could tell that this had some possibilities for me. I’m not a smoker of any type and never have been so that is a problem for me. We know there are other ways. I was arrested in Texas for possession of marijuana while driving home to Virginia. I wasn’t smoking and there had been no smoking at all in the car. Of course the cop says he smells mj smoke and that’s it. It’s crazy. I’m driving a white rental with Ca. license plates. I exist on my Veterans Compensation & Social Security disability so I can’t afford an attorney that will do more than stand by me and say, “ Guilty.” What is haunting me and compelling me to fight is as I sat in their car on the side of I 40, the 3 of them laughed at me when I told what I was doing and why. They told me I oughta think about moving to Colorado. Can anyone please help?

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