While marijuana sales were soaring in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nevada has seen sales take a downturn.
Nancy Brune, executive director of the Guinn Center, told The Center Square that one of the cannabis industry’s challenges before the coronavirus pandemic was the inability to access traditional financial institutions.
This has only gotten worse as cannabis businesses have been excluded from the federal assistance programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
Gov. Steve Sisolak restricted cannabis sales to delivery-only purchases in the state rather than a drive through.
“We are only delivery now, so that’s been challenging because we work on the metric system, a software system, that helps state regulators track what’s sold to whom and when,” Tisha Black, president of the board of the Nevada Dispensary Association, told The Center Square.
“Trying to convert from in-store sales to primary delivery sales, we had to get our metric system to go mobile with us. I will say the state did an exceptional job of getting our drivers and our vehicles inspected and ready for delivery.”
Black also said, “Marijuana, like gambling, is still marginalized. There are many states that don’t approve of it. We’re still stepchildren in a way. It’s kind of like a sin penalty. Other jurisdictions that haven’t come along still view us as a nefarious marketplace, not worthy of helping because it deals in morality.”
“Cannabis is a tough industry because of lack of funding, a lack of some of the federal benefits, a lot of variations in regulation and taxation. It’s different from state to state because we don’t have the federal government that gets us all working on the same page with the same good practices,” Black added.
“One of the saving graces is medicinal marijuana has been treated quite fairly in the sense that most states have let cannabis proprietors remain open as an essential business because they provide medicine to people. That’s very helpful to our industry,” Black said.