Marijuana News Roundup: Nevada Pot Supplies Selling Out

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Sales of cannabis for recreational use got off to a roaring start last weekend in Nevada. One often-cited estimate for the first four days (July 1 through July 4) of retail sales comes to $3 million. Of that, the state’s tax take is about $1 million.

The state, however, appears to have been unprepared for that level of success. Demand has been so great that licensed dispensaries are running out of supplies. The state’s Department of Taxation has declared a “statement of emergency” that would permit state officials to come up with ways to combat the shortage.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the regulation would allow state officials to consider distribution applications from a larger pool of applicants. The problem, as we have noted before, is the result of a restriction in the legalization law that grants the state’s alcohol distributors an 18-month head start on pot distribution. Only seven liquor distributors have done so and state officials say that most of the other distributors that have applied don’t meet the requirements to become a licensed pot distributor.


Scientists Lay the Groundwork for a Reliable Marijuana Breathalyzer
Marijuana is now legal for recreational or medicinal use in at least 28 states and the District of Columbia. But driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal no matter which state you’re in. To enforce the law, authorities need a simple, rigorous roadside test for marijuana intoxication.

Although several companies are working to develop marijuana breathalyzers, testing a person’s breath for marijuana-derived compounds is far more complicated than testing for alcohol.

But scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken an important step toward that goal by measuring a fundamental physical property of the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Specifically, they measured the vapor pressure of this compound—a measurement that, due to the compound’s chemical structure, is very difficult and has not been accomplished before. The results were published in Forensic Chemistry.

“Vapor pressure describes how a compound behaves when it transitions from a liquid to a gas,” said Tara Lovestead, a NIST chemical engineer and the lead author of the study. “That’s what happens in your lungs when a molecule leaves the blood to be exhaled in your breath. So if you want to accurately measure blood levels based on breath, you need to know the vapor pressure.”