Judge freezes 61 Nevada marijuana permits as lawsuit proceeds

Local News

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez listens to an attorney in court on Thursday. (Patrick Walker/KLAS-TV)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Nevada judge has frozen the permit process for several new recreational marijuana dispensary licenses while a lawsuit over them proceeds.

The ruling by Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez affects the 61 new provisional licenses the Department of Taxation issued in December 2018, but 29 dispensaries who were left out are suing the state.

The applicants who were left out assert that the state’s process was riddled with mistakes and biased toward certain companies.

They are asking for the licenses to be voided and the process to start over.

The 61 permits went only to a handful of companies.

Plaintiff’s lawyers allege the state used an unconstitutional grading process for applications, inconsistent scoring and preferential treatment. They also challenge how diversity was calculated in the applications.

The state’s lawyers say the process isn’t perfect but they are following what the state wants. The state and lawyers for the companies who did receive licenses fired back, saying the allegations are baseless.

“There’s no irreparable harm,” said Rusty Graf, Clear River, LLC. “There’s been no testimony. There’s been no evidence to prove it, period.”

The Department of Taxation Director Melanie Young issued the following statement:

“The Nevada Department of Taxation is committed to continue moving forward with Governor Sisolak’s new direction for Nevada’s regulatory marijuana system, which is based on transparency, compliance and the highest possible standards.”

Both sides say they expect this case to make it to the Nevada Supreme Court.

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