LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A dozen marijuana dispensaries who were shut out of the latest round of new licenses from the state are made their case in front of a judge Friday.
The hearing is part of a lawsuit seeking a do-over of the licensing process.
In simplest terms, the dispensaries claim the system is flawed, so on Friday they started to outline their case as to why, but the state is pushing back. The battle between the state and dispensary owners has been brewing for about 6-months now.
Former Secretary of State Ross Miller called his first witness on behalf of the plaintiffs, a Denver-based professor who studies state laws related to marijuana regulation. The professor was used as the foundation for the plaintiffs who argue the department of taxation, which currently regulates the marijuana industry, went beyond its authority in forming regulations and scoring processes that go beyond what the state constitution, voters and lawmakers both intended and allow.
“What you’re going to see here is that the delegation, verbatim, from the statute through the department of taxation was exceeded, was expanded, and power was usurped by the Department of Taxation in enacting the regulations,” said Dominick Gentile, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
“That is a broad delegation of power, and the department is entitled to great deference in its interpretation of the grant of power to the department,” said Steven Shevorski, Nev. Attorney General’s Office.
Of the more than 100 companies to apply for the 61 preliminary dispensary licenses from the state, roughly two-thirds went to just six companies. The plaintiffs say this is one of many red flags that the process ran a foul, while the state argues that the process was thorough. The plaintiffs are asking for a do-over because they didn’t score well enough to receive licenses.
The hearing is scheduled to run for a total of four days. It will continue next Tuesday.