Nevada Declares an Emergency Because They’ve Sold Out of Legal Weed

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In an area of the country that may as well be a universe apart from where most of us live, lawmakers and public officials in Nevada are scrambling to find more weed to sell.

A marijuana shortage has prompted officials to declare a state of emergency and consider their options for expanding their supply.

The Nevada Tax Commission is meeting Thursday to determine whether the state has enough wholesale marijuana distributors; it could also adopt emergency regulations.

"Right now, only companies that are also licensed to distribute liquor in Nevada are able to bring marijuana to dispensaries," Nevada Public Radio's Casey Morell reports for NPR's Newscast unit. "The dispensaries say that's why they're running out of the drug."

The state's licensed dispensaries completed "over 40,000 retail transactions" during the first week of sales according to officials, more than twice as many as expected in some locations.

State officials are acting with all due haste because every single sale of legal weed is more tax revenue for the state's coffers. Sales are expected to generate over $100 million in revenue for the state over the next two years, but their projections may fall short if they run out of weed to sell.

As someone who believes that marijuana should be legalized nationwide, I'm not too concerned about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' tough talk on shutting down the industry. If he ever actually attempts to do so, states will fight back all the way to the Supreme Court to protect their revenue streams.

  • BobJaf

    No more half-measures. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the governments concerned would actually just “legalize” it, not allow it but try to control it. A real “radical” idea might be to let “the invisible hand of the free market” determine the price and the proper place of the herb in our culture. Don’t weigh on a special tax but be content with the added taxes from personal income tax from the participants, sales tax from the retailers, cabaret taxes from the owners of smokeasies, inventory tax on the speculators. Realize the savings from not wasting police resources on non-violent pot heads, radically reducing the jail and prison population and take a bite out of the black market heroin and opioid trade.
    Plus, if Nevada was a state that attracted tourists and had hotels and restaurants, then the people who came to get high could eat something and spend the night.
    And for the immediate problem of scarcity, I’ll bet one of their neighboring states might be sitting on a slight surplus that could help ameliorate the crisis.

  • muselet

    I imagine Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is planning a full-on assault on Carson City: DEA, ATF, FBI, Marshals Service, 25th Battalion Alabama Cavalry, the works. Nevada, I can hear him mutter, must be made an example of.

    In a year (barring DoJ airstrikes, of course), we’ll know how badly Nevada lawmakers failed to plan for marijuana legalization. This may be a glitch or it may indicate a serious, systematic problem. For now, I’m content to call this no more than mildly embarrassing for the state.


  • Aynwrong