You know what’s chill? Smoking weed in Las Vegas. You know what’s decidedly unchill? Going to Las Vegas hoping to score some legal, locally grown marijuana, only to find out the whole state has completely run out of bud.
The state of Nevada legalized the use of marijuana for anyone older than 21 in November 2016, but recreational cannabis sales officially began July 1. On Monday, however, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency, citing the state’s low weed supply and urging his constituents to adopt some new regulation to encourage more production. Lawmakers and stoners alike can now predict responsibly that high demand and low supply will be a problem for each state that legalizes marijuana. In order to keep “emergencies” like Nevada’s from happening, we’re going to have to develop a smoother plan of attack for rolling out legal, recreational weed.
Nevada state spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein told USA Today, “Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately.”
Local Reno publications have estimated that the state raked in over $1 million in sales tax on weed alone this week, which bolsters the argument made by weed legalization advocates for decades that the process will help the American economy.
Of course, it’s difficult to talk about the upside to marijuana legalization without mentioning the disturbing number of Americans who are currently serving prison sentences for weed distribution. In fact, more than half of drug-related arrests in the U.S. in 2010 were based solely in weed. The system is related to race as well; black Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested and thrown in prison for possession or the intent to sell marijuana. The state of Nevada is trying to remedy that fact in small ways; in March, the Las Vegas Sun reported that those previously arrested for marijuana-related charges would be eligible to have their records wiped clean of the offense under new laws.
As for the state’s “emergency” shortage, the dispensaries are currently under more demand for product than their suppliers can keep up with, mostly because it takes a lot more time to create and foster a legal, natural supply of marijuana than it does to open a dispensary. Until folks in Nevada are able to close the gap, the best places to buy legal weed in the United States are still Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.