Judge scheduling more dates in Nevada pot licensing lawsuits
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge is scheduling at least three more days of testimony in a bid by dozens of rejected applicants to show the state’s retail cannabis licensing process is biased and unconstitutional.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ended a week of testimony on Friday saying that testimony will resume June 10.
The judge his being asked to issue an injunction to stop Nevada from nearly doubling the number of dispensaries statewide. Some companies seek a do-over. Some seek financial damages.
Attorneys for the state and several winning bidders are defending the procedures and personnel used to rank 462 applications before the Department of Taxation awarded 61 licenses last December to 16 companies.
There are currently 65 dispensaries statewide, mostly in the Las Vegas and Reno areas.
Steve Shevorski, a Nevada state attorney, has said testimony will show that applications were fairly and honestly assessed and scored. He characterized the license challenge as a bid to get the judge to reweigh evidence.
David Koch, representing a dispensary that won approval for five more licenses, has called the failed bidders’ challenges inappropriate.
Millions of dollars in taxes and profits are at stake in a state where medical and recreational pot sales totaled $884 million in just the last six months of 2018.
That was up dramatically from a combined $530 million in the full year after marijuana retail sales began in July 2017.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed a law last month letting tax officials release the names of marijuana license applicants, but not the applications.
The governor also wants to create a state Cannabis Compliance Board similar to the commission that oversees casino licensing.