As the Nevada Legislature debates a variety of cannabis-related measures, dissension among dispensary owners could impede efforts to take Nevada’s fledgling weed industry to the next level, says Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom.
The exodus of nine dispensaries from the Nevada Dispensary Association has “huge implications” according to Segerblom, who is frustrated owners are “fighting each other instead of making Nevada the New Amsterdam.”
The battle among dispensary owners stems from epic litigation over the state’s licensing process. The lawsuit ended with Judge Betsy Gonzalez agreeing with the plaintiffs that the process was flawed, but she declined to do anything about it because the number of permitted licenses is spelled out in law and she lacked remedies.
A measure before lawmakers would end the Catch-22 of legal weed sales — tourists can buy it but are prohibited from smoking it in hotels.
The “best bill,” according to Segerblom, would allow consumption at big cannabis events.
Inyo Fine Cannabis owner David Goldwater, who bolted from the NDA where he served as a board member, says he believes “legislators understand some legislative solution to the licensing debacle may be in order.”
The lack of a united front from the industry threatens all, said Segerblom.
“I am not fighting with anyone,” said NDA president Tisha Black via text. “Whether or not someone feels they are fighting with me, I cannot say.”
“Tick has always been supportive of the independent operator,” Goldwater said. “In Tick’s ‘New Amsterdam’ there needs to be a voice for independent dispensaries with local ties. The NDA no longer is a ‘dispensaries-only’ organization and only speaks for large operators.”
Other dispensaries exiting the NDA are Euphoria, Grove, Apothecary, ShowGrow, Sanctuary, Canopi, Pisos, and Sol, according to a news release from Goldwater.
“Recent events have revealed a strong bias by a majority of the Board of Directors toward the interests of larger dispensaries,” Goldwater said in the release.
Goldwater and the others say the NDA board refused to remain neutral on a measure that would have allowed dispensaries licensed for medical sales to convert to recreational and open additional locations.
“What was presented by the group that separated was self-dealing to gain licenses through political privilege,” says Black.
“The organization has a long history of remaining neutral on issues where members may disagree,” said former NDA board member John Ritter of Grove. “The NDA’s departure from that policy shows that larger dispensaries plan to use every tool at their disposal, including the trade association, to exercise their market power.”