Nevada Department of Taxation officials have proposed a timeline for the implementation of the voter-backed adult-use cannabis industry, expecting it to launch as early as July 1, the Associated Press reports. The target is well in advance of the Jan. 1, 2018 deadline required under the law.

Tax department Executive Director Deonne Contine said that medical cannabis operators in good standing would be eligible to apply for temporary licenses and should be able to start selling cannabis to adults 21 and older by this summer. The department started crafting the rules and regulations for the program in November and Contine said she expects to have a draft of those regulations by March and begin the licensing process by May.

Contine indicated that Nevada’s rules and regulations borrow heavily from Colorado’s adult-use scheme and from Nevada’s own medical cannabis regime. Retail sales will be taxed 15 percent in the state.

Joe Pollock, deputy administrator of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health and an overseer of the medical cannabis program, said that the new system must ensure that medical cannabis prices are lower than recreational prices otherwise patients won’t have much incentive to use remain enrolled in the program; just 482 of the 25,000 registered patients in Nevada are under 21. Pollock was also concerned with how the commercial market would impact the informal market because, currently, “the rurals don’t have dispensaries.”

“If anything, I would be worried that the black market would move toward those rural counties because the recreational marijuana will not be available conveniently in those counties,” he said in the report.

Potential canna-business owners who are not currently operators in the state will likely have to wait until at least October 2018 to apply for a license.

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