sunny.png
Monday June 17th, 2019 7:18AM

Nevada may be forced to reveal marijuana-license criteria

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada faces complaints about secrecy in awarding licenses to sell marijuana in the state's booming legal marketplace, boiling over into lawsuits and legislation that appear poised to pry open the process.

Several companies have sued the state tax department, arguing that no one knows for sure the criteria officials use to award new licenses. They complain the state releases no information about who seeks and receives permission to sell cannabis to adults, many of them tourists, in the nearly 2-year-old market.

They will ask a judge Monday to freeze the granting of marijuana dispensary licenses, at least temporarily, until the courts decide whether it's "arbitrary and capricious and violates the constitution," one lawsuit says.

The hearing will focus on a second wave of dispensaries approved in December to open into an evolving regulatory environment where local lawmakers are considering allowing pot lounges on or near the Las Vegas Strip.

The companies say Nevada unconstitutionally picked winners and losers from 462 applicants for 61 new dispensary, cultivation, laboratory and production licenses.

"Licenses that admit a select few to such a lucrative enterprise must be made in a way that is open and transparent," said attorney Vincent Savarese, who wrote the constitutional challenge on behalf of Serenity Wellness Center and 10 other companies that were turned away.

"The point is to remove the marijuana trade from criminal enterprises, cartels and mobsters and street dealers, and to ensure that they don't have participation in the legal marijuana industry," he said.

The court arguments come days after the state Senate unanimously passed a measure to let officials release taxpayer information now labeled confidential. The proposal heads next to the Assembly.

Plans are underway to release the names of all applicants and licensees once the measure becomes law, said Ky Plaskon, spokesman for the state Department of Taxation, which regulates the licensing process.

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday acknowledged "the frustrations of many marijuana license applicants with the current licensing process" and endorsed the legislation that he said "would shed light on the methodology used ... in granting licenses."

Sisolak, a Democrat, was elected last November while calling for a state marijuana regulatory program similar to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates casino licensing. He has an advisory panel studying the formation of a Cannabis Compliance Board.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and figures show that sales are booming.

In the first year after broad marijuana sales began in July 2017, 61 dispensaries statewide reported nearly $425 million in recreational pot sales. Medical marijuana sales totaled an additional $105 million.

Nevada reaped $42.5 million in taxes on adult sales, with about $27.5 million going to an account for schools.

In the last six months of 2018, all dispensaries reported $884 million in sales and the state took in almost $72 million in taxes on recreational sales, Plaskon said. There are now 65 marijuana stores statewide.

Monday's court hearing in Clark County District Court is expected to draw attorneys involved in six lawsuits filed against the state Taxation Department on behalf of dozens of companies.

"I'm not saying anybody corruptly got a license," Savarese said. "But I'm saying that if they had, the process is opaque enough to provide cover for it."

His 11 clients already won some dispensary licenses in 2017, after Nevada voters in 2016 approved broad access to cannabis, and are seeking more.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US-Russia chill stirs worry about stumbling into conflict
The U.S. and Russia need to talk more _ that's what American and European analysts, as well as current and former U.S. military officers are saying about the nuclear superpowers.
1:51PM ( 59 seconds ago )
Finland: early returns show left-wing party with slight lead
Early returns in Finland's parliamentary election have the center-left Social Democratic Party in first place and the conservative National Coalition Party
1:41PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Nevada may be forced to reveal marijuana-license criteria
Nevada may be getting close to opening the books on businesses that sell marijuana in the booming legal marketplace
1:37PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Early returns show close contest in Finland
Early returns from Finland's parliamentary election have the center-left Social Democratic Party in first place and the conservative National Coalition Party not far behind with most of the ballots that were cast in advance already counted
1:21PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Debate over climate change dominates Finnish vote
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which tackling climate change has emerged as a key issue
12:53PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Masters Latest: 4 contenders send tee shots into Rae's Creek
Masters Latest: 4 contenders send tee shots on 12th hole into Rae's Creek
12:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Sanders: Sending migrants to sanctuary cities not top choice
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says the president wants officials to explore a twice-dismissed proposal to send migrants to "sanctuary cities," but it was not the preferred solution to fix the straining immigration system
10:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg set to make 2020 Democratic run
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is expected to make his Democratic run for president official during a rally later Sunday in the city where he launched his political career less than a decade ago
10:53AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Finland party hasn't ruled out populist partner
The leader of Finland's center-left Social Democratic Party says he hasn't ruled out having the populist Finns Party as a governing coalition partner, but its differing "value base" is an obstacle
10:04AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Dems defend Omar after Trump retweets video against her
Top Democrats are defending Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump retweeted video that was edited to suggest the freshman Minnesota Democrat was being dismissive of the significance of the worst terrorist assault on U.S. soil
8:27PM ( 17 hours ago )
Albanian opposition clashes with police in anti-govt protest
Albanian opposition parties have rallied in the Tirana, the capital, calling for the government's resignation and an early parliamentary election
4:56PM ( 20 hours ago )
Thousands rally in Serbia against populist leader Vucic
Thousands in Serbia are protesting against populist President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday as riot police deployed inside the country's parliament, saying they wanted to prevent the opposition from storming the building
2:26PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
China, Japan tout 'recovered' ties amid global uncertainty
Japan's foreign minister says China and Japan have the opportunity to "take charge of the economic field" during a time of worldwide uncertainty
10:29AM ( 3 hours ago )
Climate change debate dominates Finnish vote
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which tackling climate change has emerged as a key issue
5:11AM ( 8 hours ago )
Climate change, social care are top issues in Finnish vote
Finns are voting in a parliamentary election in which reforming the nation's generous welfare model and tackling climate change have emerged as key issues
2:45AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business
Group asks gov't to probe Nissan automatic emergency braking
A U.S. auto safety group wants the government to investigate automatic emergency braking on some Nissan Rogue SUVs, alleging that the safety feature makes the vehicles brake for no reason
12:59PM ( 1 day ago )
Fisher-Price recalls sleepers after more than 30 babies died
Fisher-Price is recalling nearly 5 million infant sleepers after more than 30 babies rolled over in them and died
7:39PM ( 1 day ago )
New 'Star Wars' film promises 'The Rise of Skywalker'
Fans finally learn the title for 'Star Wars: Episode IX,' and get a first look at the final installment in the franchise's third trilogy.
7:03PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
US-Russia chill stirs worry about stumbling into conflict
The U.S. and Russia need to talk more _ that's what American and European analysts, as well as current and former U.S. military officers are saying about the nuclear superpowers.
1:51PM ( 1 minute ago )
Finland: early returns show left-wing party with slight lead
Early returns in Finland's parliamentary election have the center-left Social Democratic Party in first place and the conservative National Coalition Party
1:41PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Trump sanctuary city idea could help migrants stay in US
President Donald Trump's idea of sending immigrants from the border to "sanctuary cities" to exact revenge on Democratic foes might actually be helpful to the migrants, experts say
1:36PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Masters Latest: Five-way tie for lead late in final round
Masters Latest: Five-way tie for lead late in final round
1:36PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Sen. Gillibrand raises $3M in first quarter for 2020 race
Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand raised more than $3 million in the first three months of the year
1:26PM ( 26 minutes ago )