12 July 2017

Not The Onion

Real headline from the Los Angeles Times:

Nevada Has a Drug Problem: Shops Are Running out of Marijuana

Nevada is running out of pot, and the Department of Taxation is freaking out, because they have been making serious bank from this new industry.

Basically, it's an artifact of lobbying from (you guessed it) liquor distributors, who were opposed to competition for chemically induced stupid:
Nevada officials have declared a state of emergency over marijuana: There’s not enough of it.

Since recreational pot became legal two weeks ago, retail dispensaries have struggled to keep their shelves stocked and say they will soon run out if nothing is done to fix a broken supply chain.

“We didn’t know the demand would be this intense,” Al Fasano, cofounder of Las Vegas ReLeaf, said Tuesday. "All of a sudden you have like a thousand people at the door.…We have to tell people we’re limited in our products.”

In declaring a state of emergency late last week, the state Department of Taxation warned that “this nascent industry could grind to a halt.”

As bad as that would be for marijuana consumers and the pot shops, the state has another concern: tax revenue. A 10% tax on sales of recreational pot — along with a 15% tax on growers — is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars a year for schools and the state’s general fund reserves.


In the run-up to last year’s state referendum over legalization — which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, allowing people aged 21 and over to buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana — the state’s powerful alcohol lobby worried that legalized weed would cut into liquor store sales.

So in a concession to the the alcohol industry, the ballot measure stipulated that for the first 18 months of pot sales only wholesale alcohol distributors would be allowed to transport marijuana from cultivation facilities to the dispensaries.

When legalization took effect July 1, nearly 50 dispensaries — all of them already in the medical marijuana business — had been licensed to sell recreational pot. But no alcohol distributors had been approved to transport it.

The state Department of Taxation, which regulates legal marijuana, said it had received about half a dozen applications from alcohol distributors but that none had so far met the state licensing requirements, which include background checks and security protocols.

As a result, the dispensaries have had to rely on marijuana already in stock.

Dispensaries and state officials had anticipated the problem, and in late June the Department of Taxation attempted to loosen the licensing rules to allow dispensaries to transport their own marijuana.

But a District Court judge blocked the request, arguing that the state needed to go through the regulatory process to determine how many distributors were needed. The state appealed the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Needless to say the juxtaposition of legislative cowardice and regulatory and judicial missteps has created a complete clusterf%$#, which has the state of Nevada scrambling to secure a reliable supply of weed.

Under normal circumstances, I'd be asking, "What the f%$# were they smoking when they came up with this?" but in this case, I think that we actually know what they were smoking.


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