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Recreational Marijuana (Back) On Track

It's been a bumpy ride for marijuana advocates in the state. 

When voters approved ballot Question 2, which legalized recreational marijuana in Nevada, legislators had about six months to figure out how to regulate the blooming industry. 

With a Democratic-controlled Legislature, 23 bills were introduced but seven passed to do just that. Sales of recreational marijuana will be imposed with a 10 percent tax, and edible marijuana products cannot mimic that of candy. 

Chief among the accomplishments with the state's recreational marijuana program was the named July 1 early start program. The Nevada Department of Taxation was to issue licenses to sell recreational marijuana to already established medical marijuana dispensaries. 

A wrench was thrown in that plan, however, when a judge in Carson City issued a temporary restraining order, and then ruled in favor of, liquor distributors in the state who say the law is written so that they have first dibs on the distribution of recreational marijuana. 

Joe Brezny, the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said he was dismayed by the lawsuit. He said the liquor distributors are saying they should be distributing marijuana exclusively, but Brezny said the law approved by the voters gives the liquor distributors 18 months of exclusivity, but after that, the distribution of the product is open to other distributors.

"This was meant as a bridge between alcohol industry and the marijuana industry to have us tap into their expertise in secure delivering," he said, "It was not meant as an independent third tier."

Now, it seems the state's dispensaries will indeed sell recreational marijuana on July 1, as long as they already have the inventory in stock, which Brezny estimates will last between 60 and 90 days, which he hopes will give all parties involved a chance to work out the distribution. If the distribution is not worked out, Brezny said the price of recreational pot will go up. 

He said when pot sales start on Saturday a price of an ounce of smokable marijuana will be somewhere in the range of $350 and $450, but he believes the price will go down just as it did with medical marijuana sales. 

Brezny also reminded people that at this point marijuana can only be used on "private property with permission of the owners." However, local jurisdictions are looking at changing ordinances to allow it to be used in certain locations at outdoor festivals. 

Joe Brezny, spokesman, Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol 

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.