The governor of Nevada has declared a state of emergency: They’re running out of pot.
It’s not the kind of emergency you might expect – given these are usually reserved for floods or tornadoes, but just days after the state made recreational marijuana legal for retail sale, they are quickly running out of weed.
Sales started just 12 days ago at the beginning of the month. Even then, there were concerns about whether or not the state had enough supply to meet the huge demand. The law gave liquor license holders the exclusive right to transport the product to the dispensaries for the first year and a half.
But because of the shortage, Gov. Brian Sandoval said he is endorsing a “state of emergency” from the state Department of Taxation for emergency measures expanding who can get a license to transport the formerly illegal drug.
Owners of the dispensaries stocked up their shelves in advance of the shortage, but it still wasn’t enough to meet the massive flood of sales over the long Fourth of July weekend.
The state’s 47 retail marijuana stores did “well over” 40,000 transactions, Vice reports, with sales sometimes doubling dispensary owners’ projections. Riana Durrett, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, estimated industrywide sales of around $3 million during the first four days of business.
Some dispensaries need resupplies immediately, and others are considering laying off employees or closing their doors altogether.
“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,” Gov. Sandoval said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the Department of Taxation tried opening distribution to other types of businesses when it saw insufficient interest and readiness from the liquor industry, only to be stopped in court in May, when they sued to hang onto their first dibs.
The Department of Taxation will consider adopting the governor’s proposed rules on Thursday.