Will smoking marijuana be allowed in Massachusetts casinos?
Casino gambling is legal in Massachusetts. Smoking marijuana will be legal soon, too. But it will not be legal to combine the two.
The newly passed ballot initiative legalizing marijuana bans the use of marijuana in public places — which includes casinos. In addition, smoking is already forbidden inside casinos.
“The good news is our casinos are non-smoking, and they will continue to be non-smoking, regardless of what materials you may be smoking,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Enrique Zuniga.
The Gaming Commission, which oversees gambling operations in Massachusetts, on Tuesday held a brief discussion about the decision by state voters to legalize recreational marijuana.
The commissioners said they are still trying to determine what implications, if any, marijuana legalization will have for casinos.
“That’s a very big change in the cultural, social and possibly economic landscape,” said Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby. “We should think about whether there are any implications for that for our operations.”
This could mean, for example, addressing questions about whether people would be allowed to use marijuana in hotel rooms owned by casinos. It could involve looking at whether it matters to casino operators that federal law outlaws the use of marijuana, even though state law allows it. There is also the likelihood that the state Legislature will amend the law, so the final law will not be exactly what passed on the ballot.
Commission members say they will ask for public comment and will ask for feedback from the companies that have received casino licenses. They also plan to talk to regulators in states like Colorado, Oregon and Nevada, which also have both casino gambling and legal marijuana.
Commissioner Gayle Cameron suggested that the commission may also be able to help the treasurer’s office, which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the marijuana law, with technical support related to how to set up a new regulatory and licensing system.