NV Supreme Court tosses out recreational pot distribution case
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court has finally put an end to the battle over who is legally allowed to distribute marijuana in the Silver State, saying the issue is now moot.
The original ballot initiative legalizing recreational pot in 2017 specified that the only licensed alcohol distributors could distribute the drug to retailers.
When Nevada Department of Taxation officials eventually moved to license others as distributors, Carson City’s Kurt Brown of Capital Beverages sued to block the licenses.
Brown had reportedly said he expressed interest in distributing cannabis when the Tax Department announced in 2016 its intention to develop regulations for recreational marijuana. He even formed a new business, Paladin LLC, to distribute marijuana from production and cultivation facilities to retail dispensaries.
After repeated battles before the district court and Tax Commission, taxation officials ruled an insufficient number of licensed alcohol distributors in Nevada willing to serve the pot market existed.
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 the Taxation Department began issuing licenses.
The Supreme Court then issued an injunction barring the Taxation Department from issuing more of those licenses but ruled that the injunction didn’t affect those distributors that were licensed before the injunction was entered.
The Taxation Department in November 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, according to its Nov. 28 order, 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.