A temporary restraining order granted to a group of alcohol distributors may delay the sale of recreational marijuana in Nevada, which was scheduled to begin on July 1. On May 30, 2017, the First Judicial District Court of Nevada issued the temporary restraining order, which essentially prohibits the Nevada Department of Taxation from enforcing a May 31 deadline for submitting recreational marijuana license applications.
The plaintiff alcohol distributors have alleged that the ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana provided, among other things, that for a period of eighteen months after the implementation of recreational marijuana licensing regulations, only holders of wholesale liquor licenses could apply to be marijuana distributors in the state. However, the ballot measure also allowed the Department to open up the application process to others if the number of wholesale liquor applicants would result in an insufficient number of marijuana distributors. The Department determined that there was insufficient interest from liquor licensees and opened up the application process to others, including current holders of medical marijuana licenses, provided that their licenses are in good standing.
State officials have stated that by one day prior to the May 31 deadline for license applications, only one liquor licensee had applied for a marijuana distribution license. The alcohol distributors contend that this is not accurate and that more applications were submitted by liquor licensees. State officials expect that another hearing will be held on the temporary restraining order within the next few weeks. Until then, the stay on the issuance of recreational licenses will remain in place.