Like other states (as well as the District of Columbia) who have legalized the recreational sale of marijuana, Nevada is running up against technical complications with the laws surrounding it.
The Issue in Clark County
Clark County, Nevada commissioners are uncertain whether it’s a good idea to block the sale of recreational marijuana within their unincorporated area.
Currently, Las Vegas recreational marijuana dispensaries and recreational weed stores in the state of Nevada are required to possess a medical marijuana license. This may change in November, when recreation-only licenses are slated to be issued.
One opponent of this change is Commissioner Susan Branger. She says that this is an unnecessary change, as the current law is more than accommodating enough for dispensaries. Other commissioners have stated their dismay, claiming that this is an attempt to “fix something that is not broken.”
What’s Driving This Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana Controversy in Nevada?
Medical marijuana shops are the primary force behind this proposal to require dual licensing (medical and recreational). They argue that recreational-only shops will operate with a much lower overhead cost than medical dispensaries.
For medical pot shops, this is an issue of industry protection. Medical dispensaries, while allowed to carry more potent strains and varieties of marijuana products, were forced to jump through a number of hoops to sell their products. They see the recreational shops as newcomers who aren’t being held to the same standards.
Less restrictive licensing, they say, will cut down on their business; they’re seeking the governments help to charge the recreational stores the same fees and make them apply for the same permits and licenses. In their opinion, it’s only fair.
Arguments for the Recreational-Only Licensing
Those who support the idea of recreation-only licenses point to states like Colorado who have seen massive tax benefits from legalized, recreational marijuana. It cuts down on the black market sale of marijuana in cannabis dispensaries, they claim.
They see recreation-only shops (only required to obtain a single recreation license) as a different beast, not a direct competitor. Even if they are a competitor, they say, competition is the basis of the capitalism and there’s more than enough demand for marijuana in Nevada to support both types of shops.