There might be at least one good thing about the shit show that is the legal marijuana market in Nevada, at least for weed purveyors. Those who are actually able to get their cannabis on the shelf are seeing their product go for vastly inflated prices.
What could go wrong, you ask, in a state which only licensed two cannabis distributors for the state’s citizens and millions of vice-seeking tourists?
Cannabis sales went legal on July 1, but until a week and a half ago, state regulators only considered applications for weed retail by alcohol wholesalers. But those wholesalers were not cutting the mustard and getting weed out at nearly the pace consumers demanded.
Last week, the state tax council decided that maybe they should let someone else sell weed (like, for instance, medical marijuana providers), and began considering their applications.
But until those applications are approved, the state has only two licensed retailers and 88 cultivation sites, according to Forbes. But anyone who’s ever taken high school economics knows that as the supply goes down, the supply goes up, and so that’s Nevada got themselves a meteoric rise in pot prices.
In just a month, the price per pound went from $150 to $450, a 200 percent increase.
“Right now, the retail stores are really struggling with keeping a consistent product on the shelf and meeting demand,” Brayden Sutton, CEO of Canadian cannabis company Friday Night Inc. told Forbes. “They are constrained by what cultivators can produce, which is nowhere near what they need to be right now.”
This bottleneck in product is partly due to someone in the state government jumping the gun on legalization. Though voters passed Question 2 last November, most other states who legalized cannabis gave themselves at least a year to put a working recreational infrastructure in place before opening the flood gates.
Nevada had originally intended to wait until mid 2018 to begin legal sales, but it looks like someone decided they wanted that weed money sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the liquor wholesalers fought in court to make sure that no one besides them could get a recreational marijuana license.