Moratorium No More

Nine months after marijuana license transfers came to a screeching halt in Nevada, the new Cannabis Compliance Board (“CCB”) lifted the moratorium on transfers placed by Governor Sisolak in October of last year. The moratorium was instated after Lev Parnas and Igor Furman, now nationally infamous associates of Rudy Giuliani, allegedly attempted to buy their way into Nevada’s marijuana industry with strategically placed campaign contributions to then-gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan.

The newly formed board voted to lift the moratorium at their inaugural meeting which took place on July 21, 2020. This comes as good news to the many companies looking to transact within Nevada which have been stalled and, in some cases, completely snuffed. For instance, in April, New York City based multistate operator Acreage Holdings terminated a One Hundred Twenty Million Dollar ($120,000,000) deal to acquire Nevada’s Deep Roots Medical, LLC. The strain on the industry has been severe and lifting the moratorium will hopefully lead to a newly invigorated market.

Members also unanimously approved new regulations after a draft version was reviewed and subject to comments for several weeks. Among other things, the new regulations increase penalties for marijuana companies found to have violated the rules.

Executive Director Tyler Kilmas stated: “Throughout the extended review period, the Cannabis Compliance Board worked to revamp its investigations division, putting in place procedures and beginning to more appropriately vet those interested in participating in Nevada’s cannabis industry.” And added: “With the CCB now fully established and regulations adopted that allow for a stricter approach to background checks and licensing, there is confidence that the right structure and tools are in place to adequately address any past, present and future concerns.”

Kilmas also represented there are approximately ninety-two outstanding requests for license transfers ranging from the simple removal of an owner to more complex transfers involving publicly traded companies. The backlog will finally be reviewed, and it was said that staff members have already begun the preliminary work in order to speed up the process. Kilmas approximated that more than twenty percent (20%) of the backlogged requests may be primed for board review at the next meeting, currently scheduled for August 25, 2020.

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