As the Cannabis Control Board of Nevada had earlier announced, regulators held two lotteries on last week to pick the first set of licensees that will be allowed to open marijuana consumption lounges in the state. A total of 40 licenses were awarded during the lotteries.
Half of the licenses went to existing marijuana businesses that wished to add consumption lounges to their facilities while the other half went to companies that wished to open standalone cannabis consumption lounges. Of this number, 10 went to social-equity applicants while the remaining 10 went to other applicants that didn’t fall in the category of social-equity applicants.
During the lottery, regulators had a livestream of all the participating application numbers entered into the draw. All the numbers that were randomly selected were published, and the agency also later published online the names of the companies that had been selected to receive licenses.
It is expected that the consumption lounges will further boost cannabis sales in the state. Nevada earned about a billion dollars during this fiscal year, with the tax collections amounting to at least $152 million. The bulk of these taxes are being channeled to giving schools the funding they need. An increase in sales would therefore make more money available for the public school system in the state.
Governor Steve Sisolak has vowed to keep promoting equity as well as social justice within the marijuana industry. For example, he pardoned at least 15,000 individuals who had been convicted for simple cannabis possession. Those pardons in 2020 were possible as a result of a resolution tabled before the state’s Board of Pardons by Sisolak. The commissioners on that board supported the resolution unanimously, paving way for the governor to proclaim those pardons.
Nevada is moving systematically on the path to end the remnants of cannabis prohibition. For example, a judge in the state recently made a ruling that Nevada’s Board of Pharmacy was in violation of Nevada’s constitution by maintaining the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
This ruling came as a result of a suit filed by the Nevada chapter of ACLU alleging that the Board of Pharmacy’s classification of marijuana created a loophole that allowed police to keep arresting people on marijuana charges despite the existence of a law legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana. The Board of Pharmacy has filed a notice of appeal against this ruling.
That aside, the new licensees are expected to start serving the public in the first part of 2023. This step marks yet another forward step for the legal cannabis industry around the country, including for players such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) in jurisdictions elsewhere.
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