Nevada Supreme Court dismisses marijuana distribution case

The Nevada Supreme Court has finally put an end to the battle over who is legally allowed to distribute marijuana, saying the issue is now moot.

The original ballot initiative legalizing recreational pot specified that the only businesses that could be licensed to distribute the drug to retailers had to be licensed alcohol distributors. When Taxation officials moved to license others as distributors, Carson City’s Kurt Brown of Capital Beverages sued to block the licenses.

After repeated battles before the district court and Tax Commission, taxation officials ruled that there were insufficient licensed alcohol distributors willing to serve the pot market. That, under the voter-approved initiative, allowed the state to license non-alcohol distributors to move the product from cultivators and manufacturers of edibles to retailers.

Brown’s Palidin company and the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada went to court again even as Taxation began issuing licenses.

The Supreme Court issued an injunction barring taxation from issuing more of those licenses but ruled that the injunction didn’t affect those distributors that were licensed before the injunction was entered.

Taxation this month asked the high court to finally dismiss the case altogether because the 18-month limitation on licensing only alcohol distributors to distribute marijuana expired Nov. 15.

Palidin lawyers argued the court should rule on the issue anyway to prevent establishing a precedent in a future similar case. But the court ruled that a similar issue is highly unlikely to arise again, “because the portion of that statute being challenged by Palidin is no longer effective.”

The decision was unanimous.


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