Did you know that Nevada’s drug problem is so bad that the government has declared a state of emergency?
But don’t worry. Because I can end this terrible crisis, with one phone call. Nevada’s “drug problem” probably isn’t what you think. It turns out that after recreational pot became legal two weeks ago, the state’s nearly fifty dispensaries are all running out of product.
“We didn’t know the demand would be this intense,” Al Fasano, cofounder of Las Vegas ReLeaf, said Tuesday. “All of a sudden you have like a thousand people at the door.…We have to tell people we’re limited in our products.”
Wait a minute, Al Fasano. You mean to tell me that a founder of a dispensary located right off of the Las Vegas strip ferchrissakes somehow didn’t think the demand would be very big?! WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING, AL? (Also: does it come in edibles?)
Well I for one am glad that Nevada’s government is treating this epic disaster with all the seriousness it deserves by declaring an official state of emergency. Of course, state officials are not acting in response to the demands of outraged citizens and Vegas tourists for the special brownies and delicious gummy bears to which they are now duly entitled (hahaha, as if). No, believe it or not, it’s the state Department of Taxation that is freaking the fuck out. Nevada, you see, was banking on tax revenue generated from legal weed—15% on wholesale growers and 10% on retail purchases—to pay for, you know, schools and stuff.
Exactly how much tax revenue are we talking about here? Well no one knows for sure (and don’t even bother asking Al, obviously), but its somewhere in the tens of millions of dollars. Right after legalization, retail buyers spent an estimated $3 to $5 million on ganja in the first four days alone.
So a quick recap for those following along at home:
Frustrated dope buyers = not an emergency.
Frustrated dope sellers = not an emergency.
Frustrated dope growers (there are about 100 licensed growers in Nevada with no shortage of stash) = not an emergency.
Frustrated state bureaucrats = !!!OMG EMERGENCY!!!11!!
So why isn’t this whole shebang—pretty clearly a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN for everyone—operating smoothly? Because government corruption, that’s why.
See, there is one faction that stands to lose, and lose big, on legal weed: the alcohol industry. Just as New York City’s government is owned by real estate interests and the federal government is owned by the Military-Industrial-Banking-Complex, the government of the glorious state of Nevada, famed home of legal sex work and the spectacular fountains at the Bellagio Hotel, is owned by… Big Booze.
In the run-up to last year’s state referendum over legalization — which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, allowing people aged 21 and over to buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana — the state’s powerful alcohol lobby worried that legalized weed would cut into liquor store sales.
So in a concession to the the alcohol industry, the ballot measure stipulated that for the first 18 months of pot sales only wholesale alcohol distributors would be allowed to transport marijuana from cultivation facilities to the dispensaries.
In an amaaaaaaazing coincidence, not a single alcohol distributor has met the state’s licensing requirements. In fact, only about a half dozen applications have even been filed with the state (and let’s face it, those are probably all from Al’s friends, just goofing around for giggles). Curiously enough, in the four other states where recreational cannabis is legal (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington), the retail dispensaries themselves are permitted to transport product from wholesale growers. I’m guessing the local alcohol lobbyists in Juneau, Denver, Salem and Olympia got too drunk and missed a few payments to their personal politicians.
This is why the unlikely heroes in this story turn out to be unelected bureaucrats working at the Nevada Department of Taxation. Anticipating the problem in advance, the department attempted to loosen the transportation restrictions and let the already-licensed dispensaries manage it. But nooooooo: a District Court judge has now blocked that action. Gosh, I wonder who would intervene in such a matter? I MEAN WHAT POSSIBLE MOTIVE COULD THERE BE.*
The state’s case is now on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, while everyone at the tax department is busy running around Carson City proposing emergency regulations (and, hopefully, shrieking EMERGENCY!!! OMG EMERGENCY!11!1! to anyone who will listen, because that scene is extremely amusing to envision).
This is where I come in. Because I have, shall we say, friends in
Chinatown high places (<-haha I crack myself up), I can make a call to Steve, and this entire debacle will be eliminated in a matter of hours. That’s right: I simply dial up Steve, et violà! Steve will show up (well, eventually…) with an endless assortment of beautifully packaged and colorfully named marijuana products! Why yes, Steve, I think I would indeed love a Fire Angel Cookie! The important thing to note here is this: Steve never, ever runs out of weed. (Plus he offers free delivery!)
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking What the fuck, Iris? Steve cannot possibly deliver millions of dollars worth of pot to fifty dispensaries in Nevada today, never mind on a regular weekly basis! Wait, have you been hanging out with Al?
I think you are severely underestimating the resourcefulness of Steve. For one thing, I can tell you that at Steve’s prices a couple million dollars worth of weed is bound to be a surprisingly small amount. But that’s not the important part. The important part is that I have it on good authority (i.e. a bunch of cop dramas I watched on TV) that after I make just one phone call to Steve and inform him of the dire EMERGENCY!!1!11!!! in Nevada, Steve will in turn make one phone call to someone, who will in turn make another phone call to someone else, and so on until there is an enormous fleet of drones flying over the desert skies of Nevada dropping tons of weed—yes, literally tons!—on top of all fifty retail dispensaries. (What, it’s hardly unprecedented.)
SO JUST HANG IN THERE, NEVADANS! I will keep your governor’s cell number on auto-redial until he picks up, and when he gives the go-ahead, I’ma totally hook you guys up!
Oh, and just a helpful heads-up: if Steve tells you that you can expect his drone deliveries to arrive there by, say, 3:00pm local time, you’re probably going to be waiting around until closer to 9:30, 9:45.
*Eventually, the fact that Big Booze owns the Nevada state government will become irrelevant, because if (when?) the alcohol industry’s worst fears are realized, the government of Nevada will simply be owned by Big Weed instead. (Well, that’s provided they can get their shit together—see, e.g., fucking Al.) This is just how capitalist democracies work. And I shudder to think of the horrors in store when Big Weed has the power to enact its nefarious agenda: Nevada schoolchildren will be forced to learn how to tie-dye their shirts, assemble a working bong from a plastic bottle, duct tape, and the parts of a disassembled ballpoint pen, and sing the entire catalog of Grateful Dead songs. In kindergarten. :o