Nevada could be forced to release license criteria

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There has been controversy over how licenses are issued

There has been a shroud of secrecy surrounding how licenses are issued for marijuana dispensaries in Nevada and the community is getting fed up. A number of lawsuits have already been submitted against the state tax department and others and even lawmakers are involved in order to force the revelation of how the licenses are approved. As the frustration grows, several companies are seeking relief through the courts and will be seeking an injunction against the state tax department today that could halt new licenses from being issued.

The businesses want the state to come clean and reveal how it determines who is awarded a license, which is a legitimate request. They argue that the dispensary licenses currently seem to be issued in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner that could violate the state’s constitution.

According to attorney Vincent Savarese, who is representing 11 companies that were denied licenses, states, “Licenses that admit a select few to such a lucrative enterprise must be made in a way that is open and transparent. 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.”

Nevada’s Senate just unanimously approved a bill that will allow officials to release taxpayer information that is currently considered confidential. It still needs approval by the State Assembly, but the measure will allow for the release of the names of all applicants and licensees in the state.

Even the governor, Steve Sisolak, has gotten involved. He stated last Friday that he empathized with “the frustrations of many marijuana license applicants with the current licensing process” and endorsed the legislation that he believes “would shed light on the methodology used… in granting licenses.”