Nevada is facing heavy complaints about the secrecy in providing licenses to sell marijuana in the state’s booming legal marketplace. It is boiling over into legislation and lawsuits that appear solidly poised to pry open the process.
Several companies already have sued the state tax department with the argument that no one knows for sure the criteria officials have been using to award new licenses. They complain that the state releases no information about who seeks and receives permission to sell cannabis to adults, many of whom are tourists, in the nearly two-year-old market.
They will ask a judge on Monday to freeze the granting of marijuana dispensary licenses at least temporarily, until the courts decide whether it is capricious and arbitrary and violates the constitution, one lawsuit says.
The hearing will focus on a second wave of dispensaries which were approved in December to open into an evolving regulatory environment where the local lawmakers are considering allowing pot lounges on or near the strip of Las Vegas.
The companies say that Nevada unconstitutionally picked winners and losers from the 462 applicants for 61 new cultivation, dispensary, laboratory and production licenses.
Attorney Vincent Savarese, who wrote the constitutional challenge on behalf of Serenity Wellness Center and 10 other companies that were turned away said that the licenses that admit a select few to such a lucrative enterprise must be made in a way that is open and transparent to all.