Nevada Tax Commission to hear appeal of pot ruling Aug. 29 | SierraSun.com

Nevada Tax Commission to hear appeal of pot ruling Aug. 29

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

The Nevada Tax Commission has agreed to bar the department from issuing marijuana distribution licenses to anyone except liquor distributors until they hear the appeal of Thursday’s ruling opening licensing to retailers, cultivators and others in the pot business.

Kevin Benson, who represents distributors including Carson City’s Kurt Brown of Capital Beverages, is battling to enforce the language of the voter approved statute legalizing recreational marijuana. That language says distribution of recreational pot can only be done through licensed liquor distributors for the first 18 months.

But the initiative also says taxation can issue those licenses to others, including retailers themselves, if the department determines there aren’t enough liquor distributors to handle the demands of the more than 60 retailers and dispensaries in Nevada.

Taxation officials made that ruling last week, forcing liquor distributors to go to court for an injunction.

But Carson District Judge Todd Russell ruled Thursday, Aug. 17, the issue should go first to the tax commission before reaching his courtroom. And he lifted the stay on taxation officials granting licenses saying it appeared to him there was, “substantial evidence supplied at the hearing there is a need for additional distributors over and above the liquor distributors.”

Benson said the commission has set a hearing on the issue for Aug. 29.

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“It says in the notice they’re going to give us a stay until the Tax Commission decides it,” he said.

But Benson said the commission gave notice he must file a brief in the case by Wednesday, Aug. 23, which he said gives his side no real time to prepare. He said the commission also served notice they won’t allow new evidence, “unless there is good cause.”

He said he can show good cause: “The problem is we never had a chance to present it at the hearing.”

Benson said they will prepare their arguments for the Aug. 29 hearing.