After two weeks of watching inventory dwindle, pot shops in Nevada will soon be able to restock their shelves.
The state awarded its first marijuana distribution license Wednesday night to Crooked Wine Company, a federally licensed liquor distributor, according to Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein.
But Crooked Wine Company will not distribute the pot to stores.
Klapstein said Crooked partnered with a company called Blackbird, the main distributor for Nevada medical marijuana companies, and will transport product from cultivation and production facilities to dispensaries.
Blackbird, through Crooked’s license, can immediately begin distributing products between marijuana businesses in Nevada, Klapstein said.
“They are licensed and they can start,” Klapstein said.
Blackbird’s CEO Tim Conder could not immediately be reached for comment.
Getting the license issued means that the nearly 50 marijuana dispensaries across the state can restock their shelves for the first time since retail sales began on July 1.
Nearly 50 marijuana dispensaries across Nevada began selling recreational marijuana that day, but because there were no licensed distributors — which are required under the law voters approved in November — stores have gone nearly two weeks without being able to replenish their product.
In a lawsuit brought by the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada, a Carson City judge ruled last month that only licensed alcohol wholesalers are able to transport marijuana under the current regulations, despite the state’s attempt to let marijuana companies move their own products.
But the Tax Department, which regulates marijuana in Nevada, said last week that none of those wholesalers who applied were ready to be licensed.
That left several dispensaries close to running out of product to sell. Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday signed a proposed set of emergency regulationsthat would allow the state to licensed companies beyond alcohol wholesalers for pot distribution if they deemed that there aren’t enough licensed liquor wholesalers to serve the state. The Nevada Tax Commission is expected to vote on those regulations today at 1 p.m.
Klapstein said the issuing of the license to Blackbird will not affect the regulations, which are needed with a licensed and operating distributor.
“We need to be able to have that structure in place so that if we need to make a determination, we can do that,” she said.