CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s governor signed a law Friday opening the books on applications and airing the names of those awarded lucrative licenses to sell recreational marijuana in the state.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the measure Friday in Carson City, saying it ushers in a “new era of transparency that will benefit the industry and the public alike.”
The new law makes public the identity of marijuana license applicants and the method the state uses to score and rank bids.
“This new law represents an unprecedented release of marijuana licensing information.”
The licensing process has faced complaints from companies who say it is not clear what criteria officials used to award licenses. In lawsuits, the companies accuse the state of unconstitutionally picking winners and losers for the marijuana licenses.
Sisolak declined Friday to comment on specifics of the pending litigation, but said his administration has a policy of transparency, which will instill more public confidence in the process.
“This new law represents an unprecedented release of marijuana licensing information,” he said.
Department of Taxation spokesman Ky Plaskon has said plans are being made to release the names of all applicants and licensees once Gov. Steve Sisolak signs the measure.
Sixty-one dispensaries in Nevada reported almost $425 million in recreational pot sales in the year after broad marijuana sales began in July 2017. Medical marijuana sales brought in another $105 million.
There are currently 65 marijuana stores statewide, and medical and recreational pot sales totaled $884 million in the last six months of 2018.
The law Sisolak signed easily cleared the Legislature after the state Department of Taxation offered the transparency amendment.
State lawmakers are also considering other measures that would affect the state’s marijuana industry.
One law would create a pilot “closed-loop” payment system for marijuana businesses to give cannabis businesses a safe way to pay taxes and reduce the risk that comes with transporting large amounts of cash.
The federal government still considers marijuana illegal and many banks are reluctant to offer their services to marijuana businesses over fears it could open them up to trouble with federal authorities.