Nevada marijuana dispensaries sue for transparency in licensing criteria – FOX5 Las Vegas

(FOX5 File)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — More than a dozen Nevada marijuana dispensaries are suing the Nevada Department of Taxation to make licensing standards more transparent.

In one of five lawsuits brought by 11 dispensaries combined, cannabis business owners claimed Nevada unconstitutionally selected 61 ‘winners’ from a pool of 462 applicants to receive licenses.

“Licenses that admit a select few to such a lucrative enterprise must be made in a way that is open and transparent,” said attorney Vincent Savarese who wrote the constitutional challenge. 

Last fall, the state opened up its applications for existing dispensaries to get more licenses. The dispensaries are judged on a point system and licenses are awarded to the highest scoring businesses. Dispensaries can score in nine categories including organizational structure, evidence of the amount of taxes paid to the state of Nevada or its political subdivisions, financial plan, and varying documentation. Dispensaries can score a maximum of 250 points but no one knows the criteria of why a dispensary would receive a low score in any category. 

“We’ve got some amazing successful operators that applied for these licenses,” said Robert Casillas with Cannabis Commerce Group Consulting. “Now that the results are out, no one is happy…”

Casillas said he’s been consulting for years in Las Vegas and is familiar with more than half the dispensaries around the Valley. He claimed particular dispensaries were granted up to 9, 10 and 11 licenses while other qualified dispensaries received zero licenses. 

“It wasn’t done correctly and something has to be done,” said Casillas. “When you throw that many great groups [together], there’s going to be a maximum of points that everyone’s going to earn based on common sense criteria within the industry. So who’s making

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