Nevada’s process to award retail cannabis licenses in 2018 was riddled with mistakes and disadvantages for applicants without a professional relationship with state officials.
That was part of the closing argument delivered Thursday by attorneys for the plaintiffs, a group of applicants who didn’t receive a conditional license issued by the state last December for the booming industry.
The state approved 61 conditional licenses out of a pool of more than 460 applicants. A group composed of more than two-dozen rejected applicants filed the injunction earlier this year to bring the licensing process to a standstill.
The hearing has been on and off for three months, resulting in millions of dollars of losses for applicants who were granted the licenses they haven’t been able to use, as well as missed tax revenue for the state. In recent months, the state has been collecting $7 million to $9 million per month in taxes from sales from existing dispensaries, officials said.
Plaintiff attorneys Dominic Gentile, Adam Bult and Tedy Parker painted the picture of a competitive process to grade license applicants that was shaped by favoritism in certain instances and incompetence in others. Parker, who represents Nevada Wellness Center, said there was a lack of oversight on the work performed by a group of temporary employees contracted by the state to score applications.
“Within the evaluators’ scoring notes, we found mistake after mistake after mistake,” Parker said. “These were in terms of location, consideration of community impact, and the failure of the scorers to tally up the number of people with college degrees for the education criteria.”
Plaintiff lawyers have also argued throughout the hearing that language within a 2016 Nevada ballot question on whether to legalize recreational marijuana dictated that all owners of a company licensed to sell recreational cannabis be