Weed license transfers, transparency raised at Cannabis Control Board workshop

Marijuana Cultivation Center In Nevada
An employee demonstrates removing leaves on marijuana plants to allow more light for growth at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility on July 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Marijuana Cultivation Center In Nevada
An employee demonstrates removing leaves on marijuana plants to allow more light for growth at Essence Vegas’ 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility on July 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board, a creation of the Legislature and Gov. Steve Sisolak,  has yet to hold its first meeting, but on Thursday the Board, which is the third agency to regulate the industry, sought input from licensees and the public at a workshop on cannabis regulation. 

Among the concerns voiced by the industry — when will marijuana establishments once again be allowed to change hands and why are the transactions still on hold? 

Sales valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars of dispensaries and other establishments have been suspended since Sisolak imposed a moratorium in October 2019, after the Justice Department alleged associates of Rudy Guiliani had attempted to buy their way into the Nevada marijuana industry via campaign contributions to then-gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan.   

“Please provide a procedure and more clarity as to the process relating to reviewing and approving or denying investments, transfers of interest, profit-sharing, license transfers, etc.,” the Nevada Dispensary Association’s director Riana Durrett wrote to the CCB. “This moratorium has been problematic for many establishments and there is a lack of understanding as to the purpose of the moratorium and how issues relating to transfers can and should be remediated.” 

The window has closed on some of those deals as a result of the moratorium. 

In late May, MJardin Group, Inc. announced it had terminated its attempt to acquire Carson City Agency Solutions, dba Cannabella, which produces edibles and topicals in Carson City. The deal could be terminated if not completed by April.

In April, New York City-based Acreage Holdings, which operates in a number of states,  cancelled a $120 million deal to acquire Nevada’s Deep Roots Medical, LLC.

The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the status of the moratorium and when it may be lifted.  

NORML Las Vegas secretary Josh Kasoff complained about the lack of transparency from the Department of Taxation, which previously regulated the cannabis industry, noting the department has not responded to a single request for information.  His comment was read into the record by the director of the CCB, Tyler Klimas.  

“We are at a stage where we have a new beginning,” CCB Chair and former Supreme Court Justice Michael Douglas said at the conclusion of the workshop. ”The regulations that were read today have not been adopted,” Douglas said. “They will be put forth at the first meeting for formal adoption. Additional input will be received at that time, if any.”

“Some of the things that were pointed out by the industry we are concerned with also and are trying to figure out suitable means to adapt them so that we follow the requirements that were put forth by the Legislature in enacting the governor’s guidance for the cannabis industry,” Douglas said.

Dana Gentry
Senior Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, a grandson, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.