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Massive Weed Shortage in Nevada Orchestrated by the Alcohol Industry?

Massive Weed Shortage in Nevada Orchestrated by Alcohol Industry?

Business

Massive Weed Shortage in Nevada Orchestrated by the Alcohol Industry?

Is the alcohol industry trying to corner the market for weed distribution in the state of Nevada?

With Nevada’s shortage in recreational weed after the state legalized it last month, some sources have decided to blame the alcohol industry, citing the fact that liquor distributors are the only ones allowed to distribute cannabis to retailers by law. So, indeed, is the massive weed shortage in Nevada orchestrated by the alcohol industry? Let’s take a closer look.

Cannabis Shortage the Fault of Alcohol Industry?

Massive Weed Shortage in Nevada Caused By Alcohol Industry?

So, what besides the alcohol industry could cause Nevada’s cannabis supply to dry up, with Governor Brian Sandoval deeming it a de facto state of emergency? The simple answer is shortsightedness.

“We didn’t know the demand would be this intense,” Las Vegas ReLeaf co-founder Al Fasano said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “All of a sudden you have like a thousand people at the door…we have to tell people we’re limited in our products.”

But a filing made by Attorney Kevin Benson refutes the idea that companies other than wholesale alcohol distributors should be given the authorization to facilitate cannabis dispersal to dispensaries. Benson, who represents the interests of alcohol wholesalers, argues that the “emergency” is entirely the fault of legislators. Inasmuch, he argues that the onus is on them—not distributors or wholesalers.

“Because the department itself is at fault for creating the situation that it now claims is an emergency, it cannot use that as a basis to short-circuit the rule making process,” Benson said in his filing. If they have their way, liquor distributors would retain sole distribution rights for the next 18 months, according to the blog Free Thought Project. As FTP sees it, this is the cause of Nevada’s weed shortage; i.e., “Big Alcohol” is pulling the strings.

While it’s possible that some could read the lawsuit as some insidious monopolization of the cannabis industry, it’s not necessarily probable—at least when it comes to Nevada’s weed shortage. As we previously reported, Nevada’s “weed drought” is more the fault of lawmakers who hastily pushed the legalization bill through the House and the Senate without going through everything with a fine-toothed comb, all in an effort to start pumping millions of dollars back into the state’s economy.

Final Hit: Is the Massive Weed Shortage in Nevada Orchestrated by the Alcohol Industry?

One could also feasibly argue that the parameters of who can and who can’t distribute cannabis to dispensaries are due to the influence of the alcohol lobby in Nevada, but there’s no concrete evidence linking one to the other. Even though pressure from the alcohol industry would make sense in this context—Big Pharma and tobacco, we’re looking at you—there is no overt paper or e-paper trail to link them.

So is the massive weed shortage in Nevada orchestrated by the alcohol industry? Are they really to blame? As of now, there are no certain answers—but the aforementioned lawsuit will certainly shake up the game.

J.E. Reich

J.E. Reich is a Brooklyn-based GRD staff writer and a former night/weekend editor at Jezebel. Their work has appeared in Slate, the Toast, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

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