Keep distance from pot industry, Nevada gaming regulators advise licensees
The Nevada Gaming Commission will continue to require gaming licensees to maintain distance from the marijuana industry that is expanding in the state and will address specific issues on recreational use as they occur.
The commission and the state Gaming Control Board on Thursday spent more than two hours addressing issues associated with the Jan. 1 startup of the legalization of recreational marijuana use approved by voters with the passage of Question 2 in the Nov. 8 election.
Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo said regulators would continue to adhere to the same policies established when medical marijuana was approved in the state. No additional policies or guidelines are planned, but Alamo said the matter is “a work in progress” that could be revisited by the commission in the months ahead.
Regulators’ views were outlined in a May 6, 2014, memorandum to gaming licensees written by Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson.
The memo essentially says that because the federal government views marijuana distribution, possession, use and sale as illegal, allowing or promoting consumption in casino resorts would be viewed as detrimental to the state’s regulatory reputation.
“The federal government has also reiterated that the illegal distribution, possession and sale of marijuana are serious crimes that provide a significant source of revenue to criminal enterprises, and that there is an expectation that states with some form of legalized marijuana will have strong regulatory practices that are strictly enforced,” Johnson’s memo says.
“… Unless the federal law is changed, the board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming. Further, the board believes that any such investment or involvement by gaming licensees or applicants would tend to reflect discredit upon gaming in the state of Nevada.”
Alamo said a clear message has now been sent to the industry how regulators feel about the addition of recreational marijuana to the landscape.
But a few questions still remain.
Alamo said there aren’t any hearings or workshops planned for now, but as the recreational marijuana rollout unfolds, questions could arise.