Battle over marijuana distribution drags on - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Battle over marijuana distribution drags on

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Marijuana is displayed for sale at a dispensary in Las Vegas. (FOX5) Marijuana is displayed for sale at a dispensary in Las Vegas. (FOX5)

It's a month and a half into recreational marijuana sales in Nevada and sales have slowed down. Pot shop owners blamed a legal battle regarding which businesses are allowed to distribute marijuana.

Andrew Jolley is the CEO of The Source dispensary and president of the Nevada Dispensary Association. He said the sales at pot shops like his are shrinking, because customers are emptying their store shelves and they can't get new products back in fast enough. 

"There are specific important products that we have run out of. It's tough to be able to explain that to customers sometimes," Jolley said.

Like many dispensaries around the valley, The Source grows its own marijuana, but a state law stating only alcohol distributors can transport cannabis means they have to wait on someone else to move their own product to their store. 

"We can't bring over from our own facility to another facility without hiring a third party distribution company so that's kind of the root of the problem that needs to be fixed," he said.

The Department of Taxation said the distribution problem has driven marijuana sales down as much as 30 percent. 

On Thursday, Aug. 17, a judge agreed with the department saying the evidence shows liquor distributors aren't meeting dispensaries needs. 

"We're unable to resupply our products as quickly and efficiently as we would like so it's causing us to lose business and causing some operational disruptions to the industry," Jolley said.

Spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Taxation, Stephanie Klapstein, said after Thursday's decision, liquor wholesalers filed an appeal with the Nevada Tax Commission asking them to suspend any other businesses from getting licensed. She said they expect a special meeting with the Nevada Tax Commission over the appeal by the end of Aug. 

"The issue isn’t completely resolved yet. In the meantime, we will probably continue to see dispensaries struggle to keep their supplies up until there are more distributors who can get licensed and step in to serve the market," Stephanie Klapstein said in a statement.

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