The Russian government's international broadcaster Sputnik reported on July 12 that the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, had “endorsed” a state of emergency due to a shortage of marijuana supplies. “Up in Smoke: Nevada Declares State of Emergency Over Weed Shortage,” Sputnik declared.
Earlier this year, Nevada became the seventh U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.
The report about Nevada’s marijuana “state of emergency” did not originate with Sputnik: a day earlier, Fox News, along with several other U.S. media outlets, published reports also claiming that Nevada’s governor had, as Fox put it, “issued the state of emergency, which will allow state officials to decide on new rules that could ease the shortage of marijuana.”
However, Sputnik, Fox News and other media were wrong: the Nevada governor did not declare a “state of emergency,” but merely endorsed a “statement of emergency” issued by the state’s Department of Taxation.
Although the two terms have confused the media, they in fact refer to two very different sets of actions regulated by two different legal statutes.
Nevada’s revised statute 414.070, covering a “Declaration of Emergency,” gives the governor the authority to issue a proclamation ordering a state of emergency. This must come in the form of an executive order signed by Nevada’s governor, secretary of state and deputy secretary of state, and its implementation concerns practically every branch of the government and the public.
On the other hand, the statement of emergency in question, which was issued by the Department of Taxation, concerns only the urgent need amending state regulations regarding the procedure for licensing retailers involved in distributing marijuana. According to the statement, the current regulations are too strict and present an obstacle to satisfying public demand for the product.
All of the executive orders issued by the governor declaring a state of emergency are displayed for public viewing on the official state of Nevada website. As of July 2017, Gov. Brian Sandoval had issued three emergency orders, all of them concerning weather conditions. No state of emergency has been declared over the shortage of marijuana supplies.