FILE – In this July 1, 2017, file photo, a cashier rings up a marijuana sale at the Essence cannabis dispensary in Las Vegas. Complaints that the state releases no information about who applies for and receives dispensary licenses in Nevada’s booming retail marijuana business are spurring lawsuits and legislative proposals that appear poised to push the process public. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
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LAS VEGAS — A judge says she’ll coordinate the handling of seven lawsuits filed by dozens of companies trying to get the state to disclose the criteria officials use to award lucrative marijuana dispensary licenses.
Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez on Monday pushed back a scheduling hearing one week to get attorneys for all the cases together.
She plans later to hear arguments on a request to freeze, at least temporarily, the issuing of a second wave of cannabis licenses that state tax officials approved in December.
Companies accuse the state of improperly choosing winners and losers from 462 applicants for 61 new dispensary, cultivation, laboratory and production licenses.
The court challenges come with the state Legislature considering new laws allowing the release of marijuana dispensary application information now labeled confidential.
Several companies have sued the state tax department, arguing that no one knows for sure the criteria officials use to award new licenses. They complain the state releases no information about who seeks and receives permission to sell cannabis to adults, many of them tourists, in the nearly 2-year-old market.
The hearing will focus on a second wave of dispensaries approved in December to open into an evolving regulatory environment where local lawmakers are considering allowing pot lounges on or near the Las Vegas Strip.
The companies say Nevada unconstitutionally picked winners and losers from 462 applicants for 61 new dispensary, cultivation, laboratory