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Judge grants injunction that could delay early roll-out of legalized marijuana in Nevada

Photo: Jeff Gillan | KSNV

A judge in Carson City has granted an injunction that could delay the early start for legalized recreational marijuana in Nevada.

Judge James Wilson released his ruling on Tuesday, June 20, stating that state officials cannot issue marijuana distributor licenses to anyone other than wholesale liquor distributors.

The state must also adopt valid rules or definitions to determine how many distributors are needed before it can decide if it has a sufficient number of distributors.

The Nevada Department of Taxation previously said in March that interest among liquor distributors wasn't high enough for the early start, so it would grant licenses for medical marijuana distributors to provide pot to retailers.

However, alcohol distributors took the issue to court, arguing that state tax officials exceeded their authority in determining interest in distribution, and that they did not use any valid criteria to determine interest.

Wilson heard from both sides of the issue in court on Monday after issuing a temporary restraining order in May.

The marijuana initiative voters approved in November dictates that only existing alcohol distributors transport pot from growers to retail stores.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Taxation released a statement saying it will review the decision and determine what legal steps officials may take:

The Department has received questions around whether we still expect the retail sale of marijuana to begin on July 1. We do expect to issue licenses to qualified marijuana establishments ā€“ including , retail marijuana stores ā€“ ahead of July 1. However, we do not have any qualified liquor wholesale dealers to license as marijuana distributors at this time. None of the applications we have received so far from liquor wholesalers are complete, and we are notifying those applicants of what they need to do to make their applications complete so we can further process them. We hope for a quick response from those who are seeking exclusivity in marijuana distribution. We are committed to ensuring that the vote of the people to provide for the legal purchase of marijuana from a strictly regulated market will proceed on July 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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