Dispensary count could nearly double after state issues 61 conditional licenses, but details on winners remains secret – The Nevada Independent

Nevada could soon have almost twice as many marijuana dispensaries as it does now after the state issued 61 conditional licenses, although it’s not releasing details about who the winners of the potentially lucrative permits are.

Some of the 61 licenses were awarded to applicants for the 12 counties that currently do not have dispensaries, including White Pine, Pershing, Storey, Mineral, Lyon, Lincoln, Lander, Humboldt, Eureka, Esmeralda, Elko and Douglas Counties.

“We issued a number of state-level licenses in counties that have thus far declined to allow marijuana establishments,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein of the Nevada Department of Taxation, which regulates marijuana. “There’s a chance some of those licenses will not ultimately result in operational retail marijuana stores.”

License winners have one year to obtain local approvals and pass a final inspection from the tax agency before they are issued a final state license. At that point, the name of the dispensary will be published on the state list of open retail stores, which currently includes 65 dispensaries in five counties.

But some are irked that information about the winning applicants is shrouded in secrecy. Taxation officials declined to release further data about the winners, citing a marijuana regulation that states “the Department will and any designee of the Department shall maintain the confidentiality of and shall not disclose the name or any other identifying information of any person who facilitates or delivers services pursuant to this chapter.”

Concerns about favoritism in the application process came up when lawmakers approved regulations earlier this year, and transparency advocates believe the state has gone too far in applying an older law meant to keep health issues confidential to recreational marijuana businesses.

“The statute has been misinterpreted from the beginning. It was intended to protect doctors and patients as a privacy issue when

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