LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — “Suspicious and unlawful” is how a new court filing describes the Nevada Department of Taxation’s handling of marijuana licenses. It comes from two cannabis companies who were denied licenses in December.
Two Nevada dispensaries — Planet 13 and LivFree Wellness are asking a district court judge for a complete do-over of the whole process. In a 30-page motion for a preliminary injunction, they say their applications for marijuana licenses were unfairly graded.
There were 12 applications total, six from each company. But all of them were denied by the Nevada Department of Taxation.
The court filing alleges the department did not take diversity into account. According to both state law and the taxation department’s own regulations, diversity of race, ethnicity, and gender must be considered.
The documents also claim that the department violated an anti-monopoly provision by awarding certain dispensaries more licenses than allowed in certain jurisdictions, such as Clark County.
Another allegation is that the applications were graded by six temporary contractors with “sketchy qualifications” … because they have no experience with the marijuana industry.
That includes a former Office Max salesperson and a former food inspector.
The Nevada Department of Taxation says they cannot comment on the allegations but they did send 8 News now some general statements.
In regard to diversity, they say they did include it in the scoring and nearly 60 percent of those who won licenses do have a diversity of ownership, officers or board members.
For the anti-monopoly provision, they say no one person or group can hold more than 10 percent of the licenses in Clark County and they say that threshold has not been surpassed.
As far as the temp agency is concerned, the department says it’s a common practice to use contractors.
In all, 32 of the 61 coveted licenses were distributed among only four companies, including one from Illinois, that was awarded 11 licenses.
The attorney representing Planet 13 and LivFree Wellness tells 8 News Now they’ll go in front of a judge at the end of this month. It’s one of potentially several legal actions against the state.