Liquor wholesalers still want piece of recreational marijuana pi - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Liquor wholesalers still want piece of recreational marijuana pie

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Liquor wholesaler Kirk Offerle said he wants to cash in on the recreational marijuana business but the road has been difficult.

“[The Department of Taxation] set the distributors up to not be approved,” Offerle said.

Offerle owns Ciao Uva Wines & Spirits. He said they receive wine, beer, and liquor from around the world and deliver to clients across the state.

They’re also one of a handful of eligible companies that applied to deliver marijuana from grow sites to store fronts when recreational marijuana sales kicked off earlier this month. They have yet to get approved for their license.

The law said wholesalers get first dibs on distribution for the first 18 months of recreational marijuana sales, but the department of taxation wants to make it so medical marijuana establishments can deliver pot too.

“They want to get marijuana moving,” Offerle said. “They want to make it profitable however I feel they did not uphold Question Two.”

By contrast, Stephanie Klapstein with the Department of Taxation said applications from liquor wholesalers did not meet the requirements.

“The bottom line is that they demanded exclusivity, but they weren’t ready,” Klapstein said. “They are threatening a halt in this market that will affect business owners, employees, and the state’s education budget.”

Offerle and his colleagues filed a lawsuit against the department so that distributions licenses would stay exclusive to liquor wholesalers back in May.

Then the department filed an emergency regulation that could open license applications to Medical Marijuana Establishments also.

“All we were looking for was the 18 months of exclusivity to get us up and running,” Offerle said.

The tax commission is set to consider the emergency regulation Thursday.

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