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Nevada judge mulls suit over July 1 recreational pot startup

Tue., June 13, 2017, 11:56 a.m.

In this March 24, 2017, file photo, Nevada state Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, smells a sample of marijuana as Christopher Price, a “budtender” at the Blum medical marijuana dispensary, describes the operation during a brief tour a the store in Reno, Nev. (Scott Sonner / Associated Press)
In this March 24, 2017, file photo, Nevada state Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, smells a sample of marijuana as Christopher Price, a “budtender” at the Blum medical marijuana dispensary, describes the operation during a brief tour a the store in Reno, Nev. (Scott Sonner / Associated Press)

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A judge in Nevada is trying to decide whether the state’s first sales of recreational marijuana should begin as scheduled July 1 despite complaints from alcohol distributors.

Lawyers for the liquor distributors and the Nevada Department of Taxation are expected to go before Judge James Wilson in Carson City on Tuesday to argue the case.

Wilson granted a temporary restraining order May 30 blocking licensing of pot distributors under the ballot measure voters approved in November.

The liquor distributors argue the law dictates they get the first shot at the equivalent licenses for recreational marijuana.

The state says it has the authority to license medical marijuana dispensaries to play that role on a temporary basis from July 1 through Dec. 31.

The Nevada Cannabis Coalition says any delay could cost the state millions of dollars a month in tax revenue targeted for schools.