Contributor: KC Scannell
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a revolutionary bill into law this past May that requires the names of business owners, who were granted a recreational marijuana license by the state, to become public information.
This major legislation not only reveals the otherwise private names of these applicants, it also shines a light on the overall process that ultimately led to them be granted or denied a license. A concern that’s been plaguing marijuana activists in the state of Nevada since its legalization.
When asked to elaborate on his reasons for signing such a bill, Gov. Sisolak remarked that this would help the state launch into a, “new era of transparency that will benefit the industry and public alike.”
A lengthy list of companies have filed complaints about the licensing process in Nevada, and see this as a major step towards improvement.
In the past, these same potential store owners have suspected foul play when certain companies would get approved – while other, very similar companies were rejected, with little to no explanation as to why.
This bill is specifically designed to right those wrongs.
When it comes to cannabis revenue, 2018 was a big year for the state of Nevada. In the back end of the year alone, the total tallied near $884 million in sales from the 65 current stores found throughout the state.
Even though this piece of cannabis-related legislation is aimed to create a positive and more user-friendly outcome – there are some risks to such information going public. The most notable being the imminent danger these store owners could face from money-hungry criminals.
The majority (if not all) dispensaries work with cash-only transactions. Making the inevitable transfer of funds (and paying of taxes) more dangerous than the average business.
In an effort to remedy this situation, the state has proposed a protected “closed-loop” service of payments that these marijuana establishments could use when dealing with their immense amounts of physical currency, but this program is still in its infancy, with a litany of “kinks,” yet to be fully worked out.
While many would assume the multitude of banking services available would assist in such a process – you’d be sorely mistaken.
Considering the fact that the federal government still sees marijuana as an illegal substance, these banks don’t want to put themselves at risk. Which is an incredibly unfortunate and archaic way of thinking.
93% of Americans currently endorse the national legalization of cannabis and that number only seems to grow with each passing day. Ultimately, making the marijuana industry a formidable force to be reckoned with on the federal level.
Though he has kept his mouth relatively shut when asked to comment on the ordeal, Gov. Sisolak seemed enthusiastic when he said, “This new law represents an unprecedented release of marijuana licensing information.” And he’s not wrong.
Even though there are some inherent risks to such a political endeavor, it will benefit the entire industry, as a whole, in the long run.
Some states show trepidation when it comes to legalization, for fear of a “shady business” coming into their territory. But those stereotypes are purely false and incredibly damaging to the reputation of the cannabis industry.
However, it would be naïve to suspect that every owner that applied for a recreational marijuana license was completely “above board.” Which is why this particular law was signed into action – to do away with any doubt.
Transparency is always a good thing. Especially with a burgeoning industry such as recreational cannabis.
If the licensing procedure is out in the open, there will be little to no questions as to why certain owners were approved or not. This would eliminate any unnecessary bitterness or suspicion of greedy ulterior motives throughout the entire application process.
Will more states follow suit with such a game-changing piece of legislation? Only time will tell.