Free Minds & Free Markets

How Liquor Companies Screwed Up Pot Legalization in Nevada

When special interest groups write regulations, consumers pay the price.

Nevada is home to casinos, impulse weddings, legal brothels, and, as of July 1, recreational weed.

Despite its reputation, Nevada has never been anything close to a free market paradise. Everything from the Las Vegas taxi industry to prostitution is controlled by a handful of politically-connected companies licensed to operate by the government.

This means exorbitant prices and unnecessary hassles for customers and businesses. And the latest industry to take hold—legal weed—is no exception.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) recently declared a state of emergency because the state's 37 licensed marijuana shops were running out of inventory. Why? The law legalizing recreational cannabis sales in Nevada granted an 18-month monopoly on distribution to liquor wholesalers, who lack the experience and infrastructure to transport marijuana. And most are too afraid to enter the market because they're regulated by the federal government, and cannabis is still illegal on the federal level.

The absurdity of the situation is playing out at Essence, a marijuana dispensary just north of the Vegas strip, which started out as a medical marijuana facility. When it was selling medical weed, owner Armen Yemendijian had his employees move inventory from the grow house to the storefront themselves. Now that the store is selling recreational marijuana, that's no longer an option.

"Our cultivation facility is no more than a couple of miles from our dispensary," says Yemenidjian.

Legal weed could be a huge boon to the state economy, while providing tourists a rsafe way to have even more fun in Vegas. But politicians need to stop using every "Sin City" vice as a means to reward special interests.

Watch the video above, or scroll down for downloadable versions.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Justin Monticello. Music by The Underscore Orkestra, Tri-Tachyon, and Chris Zabriskie.

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  • Hank Stamper||

    What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

    *unless you didn't file the paperwork for the RAW TIP license (Remain Anonymous While Totally Impaired Partying). Without that the City will blackmail you for any indiscretion you don't want someone in your life discovering.

  • Charles Easterly||

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  • ||

    Moral of this news item: Never trust juice heads.

  • flyfishnevada||

    You can't enjoy weed in Vegas if you're a tourist. The law forbids smoking in public or vehicles and most casinos won't allow it on the premises.

    And at least this article/video got it right. Most blame the state for the crappy law but it was written by marijuana legalization advocates. I'm not defending the legislature but they didn't write or pass the law. It was enacted through referendum and by law must can't be modified. The pot advocates knew they'd never get it passed without getting the alcohol distributors on board.

    And while Nevada may not be a free market paradise, a heavily regulated industry like pot, gaming, prostitution, etc. if far better than criminalizing the behavior like most states do.

  • ThomasD||

    If your primary goal is to toke up without risk of state sanctions then I guess this is a victory. Albeit a costly, and certainly not hassle free victory.

    However, if you view restrictions on marijuana use as an affront to your essential liberty then this is not remotely a victory.

  • rudehost||

    It is still a victory even by your second definition. There are fewer restrictions now than there were before. This is incrementalism right out of the progressive playbook. They got what they thought they could get and they will then try to go back for more and chip away at it. The left has proven incrementalism works they just happen to be using it for good rather than evil for once. I really think libertarians and liberty minded people should be doing exactly that. Chip away with the low hanging fruit where we can and then try to nudge things more in our favor over time. Most people are addicted to the parent child relationship the state offers them. They aren't going to just turn that off unfortunately.

  • ThomasD||

    Permission is not liberty. Calling it such is lipstick on a pig.

    Nevada has set itself further down the path of statism. Just wait, in ten years, when you try to let people grow their own you'll have well financed lobbyists representing the employees of all those state bureaucracies, and entrenched business interests warning of bloody murder to every politician looking for re-election funding.

    Which is indeed the 'progressive' way.

  • MSimon||

    Decrim is "no permission required" for use.

    Perfect - hell no.

    But it is a start.

  • ThomasD||

    You can't legally grow it, and you can only legally obtain it from government approved sources.

    Enjoy your permitted alotment of Soma and your dreams of libertarian moments.

  • ThomasD||

    (it's a start towards ever more statism)

  • Conchfritters||

    I enjoyed weed very much a few months ago when I was in Vegas as a tourist. Craigslist had hundreds of people selling it, and I got some blueberry kush delivered to my hotel within 20 minutes. I didn't light up right on the casino floor, so my next visit I'm planning to bring vape so I can get high right at the blackjack table.

  • norton support||

    in short, he wants to say is do not trust on juice heads

  • MSimon||

    My ISP (Comcast - heh) supplies Norton as part of the deal.

  • MSimon||

    Casinos are notorious for money laundering. Maybe the State wants a Black Market.

    It may be why Sheldon Adelson supports marijuana research in Israel and opposes it in America.

  • حظك اليوم||

    Great post , thanks for sharing

  • m.EK||

    Rules called "laws".

    An authoritarian joke for the past 10,000 years.

    Has that shit ever worked for the people?


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