A proposed state of emergency was issued last week in Nevada. The reason? A new marijuana industry’s supply chain couldn’t keep up with demand.
On Wednesday night, though, the industry received welcome news. The state’s first marijuana distributor license was issued since legalization earlier this month, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The distributor, Blackbird, can immediately begin transporting marijuana, likely to the relief of patrons of the approximately 50 marijuana retail stores in the state.
The issue that led to the proposed state of emergency was two-fold: The demand for marijuana, up to an ounce of which became legal to purchase July 1, has been higher than expected. And a lack of licensed distributors meant retailers were running out of their stock with no means to replenish them.
“We didn’t know the demand would be this intense,” Al Fasano, a co-founder of Las Vegas ReLeaf, told the Los Angeles Times. “We have to tell people we’re limited in our products.”
Nevada’s Department of Taxation issued the proposed state of emergency to preserve the $100 million in tax revenue that was added to the state’s budget for the next two years, beginning the day marijuana became legal.
For various reasons, the seven dealers with pending applications for a marijuana distributor license as of last week had not met requirements to distribute. The Department of Taxation cited local government issues, lack of completed applications and zoning reviews as cause for the lack of licenses issued.
The emergency regulations were signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday.
The marijuana shortage could have led to job loss, a return to the black market for marijuana and the grinding halt of the new industry, the tax department said.