Brennan Linsley / AP
Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 | 1:25 p.m.
Alcohol wholesalers play a crucial role in providing the Las Vegas economy with an important lubricant — and they have the political clout to match.
Now, many of those same companies are angling for a piece of what could be Nevada’s next big vice — recreational marijuana.
The 2016 ballot will feature a measure that would fully legalize marijuana. If passed, Nevada would join Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon in allowing recreational pot.
And though it may seem counterintuitive for liquor distributors to be spending to legalize a competing product, they have a good reason. If approved, the ballot measure would give alcohol distributors the exclusive right to distribute marijuana for the first 18 months of the industry’s existence.
Nationwide, distributors gave $14.6 million in 2014 to state candidates, parties and ballot issues.