The Nevada Dispensary Association (“NDA”), a non-profit trade association, was formed in 2014 with a mission to develop and promote best practices in Nevada’s medical marijuana industry. Medical marijuana use was legalized in Nevada in 2000, but no mechanism for legal sales of marijuana existed at that time. Then, in 2013, Senator Tick Segerblom sponsored a bill that was later passed by the Nevada legislature. This bill allowed a limited number of dispensary, cultivation, production, and laboratory establishments to operate in Nevada.
The History of Medical Marijuana Legalization in Nevada
Once medical marijuana establishments became legal, many of the business owners who applied and were ultimately awarded medical marijuana establishment licenses were long-time Nevada residents with deep roots in the community. A number of medical marijuana business owners initiated their involvement in the industry because they had family members with serious medical problems who were being treated with medical marijuana. Many others were drawn to the unique opportunity to build a new industry in Nevada from the ground up, approaching the opportunity as an interesting and rewarding challenge.
Who Does the Nevada Dispensary Association Represent?
The Nevada Dispensary Association currently represents more than 90 percent of the dispensaries in Nevada, including establishments located in both Northern and Southern Nevada. Many NDA members also hold cultivation and production licenses and operate those establishments, which has helped the association to stay mindful of a wide cross-section of interests and issues throughout Nevada’s marijuana industry. The NDA’s Board includes:
- President: Andrew Jolley, Founder and CEO of The Source
- Secretary: David Goldwater, Co-owner of Inyo Fine Cannabis
- Treasurer: Ben Sillitoe, Co-founder and CEO of Oasis Cannabis
- Board Member: John Ritter, Chairman of the Board, The Grove
- Board Member: Brett Scolari, General counsel to Tryke
In 2014, the NDA hired attorney Riana Durrett, Esq. to direct its government affairs initiatives. The association promoted Durrett to the position of Executive Director in 2015. Durrett graduated from Boyd School of Law in 2008 and practiced law in Nevada and California before choosing to dedicate her efforts to the NDA full-time.
Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Nevada
Nevadans passed the ballot initiative to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in 2016, which legalized recreational marijuana possession and sales for adults over 21 years of age. The NDA urged lawmakers to allow sales of marijuana to begin earlier than mandated by the ballot initiative, which otherwise would have allowed sales to start on January 1, 2018. This allowed for a bump in tax revenue the State would not have collected otherwise. Nevada’s first recreational marijuana sales occurred on July 1, 2017.
Nevada Dispensary Association’s Contribution to the Medical Marijuana Program
The vast majority of the NDA’s efforts have aimed at protecting Nevada’s medical marijuana program from being minimized with the legalization of adult-use sales, as well as promoting the development and implementation of a strict regulatory framework. In 2017, the Association supported legislation aimed at preserving the medical marijuana program for patients by reducing the cost of patient cards, streamlining the process to obtain a patient card, and extending the period for which the card would be valid. This legislation also improved operations in the medical marijuana program, including establishing the first “single stream” of medical and adult-use marijuana in order to streamline the program and reduce costly inefficiencies. The Association also supported legislation that implemented consumer safety rules, such as limits on servings and requiring child-resistant packaging.
In March 2017, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval enacted a Task Force to develop and make recommendations on how to regulate adult-use sales in Nevada. The Governor appointed NDA Board Member John Ritter, along with other stakeholders such as law enforcement officials, local government representatives, youth drug use prevention organizations, legislators, and staff from the Governor’s office, among others. NDA’s board, members, Executive Director, and representatives of NDA members were chosen to participate in “working groups,” along with the stakeholders mentioned above, to assist the Governor’s Task Force in thoughtful deliberation on efficient and effective regulation. NDA members also participated in a series of additional public workshops to provide feedback on what would become the strict regulatory framework that is now in place in Nevada. NDA members have stepped up to the plate each time the industry faced a challenge, providing credibility and reliability as the program has developed.
The Future of The Nevada Dispensary Association
Through the cooperation and leadership of its members, along with its efforts to collaborate with non-member industry stakeholders, the NDA has become the voice of Nevada’s marijuana industry. Looking forward, the NDA and its members look forward to continuing to help foster a stable and reliable industry that contributes to Nevada and its communities. For further information on the NDA, or to reach out to the organization, visit nvdispense.com.