CARSON CITY, Nev. – Officials in Nevada say that less than two weeks after recreational marijuana hit store shelves, many businesses are now running out of the legal drug.
In 2016, Nevada voters approved a measure that would make recreational marijuana legal to residents who are 21-years-old or older.
Currently, the Nevada Department of Taxation says that there are 47 retail marijuana stores that are licensed to sell recreational marijuana across the state.
“The initial weekend of legal operation of marijuana establishments resulted in well over 40,000 retail transactions and some establishments report sales of more than double their estimates. Additionally, some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days,” a statement of emergency report read.
While many stores are allowed to legally sell marijuana, Business Insider reports that they do not have the authority to restock their inventories.
Instead, alcohol wholesalers are the only ones currently able to move marijuana from growers to retailers across the state. Officials say the goal was to regulate marijuana in a similar fashion to alcohol and served as a way to protect liquor stores from losing business.
At this point, no wholesale liquor dealer has met the application requirements to receive a marijuana distributor license.
Since many of the stores ran out of marijuana to sell, state officials became worried that the rule could negatively affect the state’s bottom line.
The Department of Taxation estimates that the sale of marijuana will bring in about $100 million to the state this fiscal year.
“Without the ability to license marijuana distributors to continue the flow of product to the retail store, a high likelihood exists that consumers will revert to the black market. Finally, the marijuana industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state. These businesses have recently hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the increased demand of adult-use. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly the inability to deliver product to the retail stores will result in many of these employees losing their jobs and will cause this nascent industry to grind to a halt. Some indicate that without the continued market they will go out of business,” the report read.
As a result, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a “Department of Taxation’s State of Emergency” on Friday.
That regulation would allow the Department of Taxation to issue distribution licenses to applicants outside the alcohol business.
State officials will vote on the regulation on Thursday.