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Monday, September 11, 2017

Nevada Says No to Recreational Marijuana Use for Gaming Industry

Are you allowed to use recreational marijuana in the Nevada gaming industry?

Considering the reputation that Nevada, especially Las Vegas, has as the fun capital of the country, it may be surprising to some that The Nevada Gaming Commission has replied with a resounding “NO” to several questions involving the use of recreational marijuana in relation to the gaming industry. After all, people go to Nevada to vacation, let loose, and indulge themselves in various ways: drinking, gambling, and even taking advantage of the fact that prostitution is legal in some counties of Nevada.

The Discussions that Led to the Commission’s Decision

Recently, the five-member board of The Nevada Gaming Commission, which establishes policy for the gaming industry throughout the state, restated its opposition to the use of marijuana at gambling casinos as long as both possession and consumption of pot remain felonies under federal law. This decision will, of course, impact a number of businesses in the state of Nevada.  If you are a business owner, it is always important that you have a knowledgeable business attorney who is up-to-date on the most recent legal decisions being made in your state.

In this case, the commissioners discussed the subject for more than an hour, though Chairman Tony Alamo said that time was spent on the least controversial aspects of the subject -- bringing marijuana into casino resorts by way of third-party and business associations between licensees, individuals and companies involved in the marijuana industry.

Although no actual votes were taken, the commissioners came to the unanimous conclusion that licensees should definitely be dissuaded from hosting shows or conferences that would promote not only the use of marijuana, but its sale, cultivation or distribution. It was also decided that licensees should not maintain business relationships, such as landlord-tenant agreements, with marijuana companies. Furthermore, the commissioners came to the conclusion that licensees should not receive financing forms, or provide financing for, an individual, entity, or establishment that sells, cultivates or distributes marijuana.

The commissioners also agreed that, in order to clearly delineate the separation between marijuana and the gaming industry, casinos should distance themselves further by not conducting business with close relatives (spouses, parents, or children) of any individual involved in marijuana business dealings.

Decisions that Were Not Made

There are still sticking points that need to be evaluated by the commissioners, such as:

  • Should marijuana consumption be permitted by hotel guests in the privacy of their hotel rooms?
  • What will the consequences be for employees who test positive for marijuana?

According to Alamo, there is much left to be discussed regarding the state’s marijuana policy and such discussions will be undertaken at future meetings during the next few months.

A former federal judge who is a member of the board, Commissioner Philip Pro, expressed the view that it is essential for the board to advise licensees of its expectations, beginning by laying out a framework of ideas, and continue by doing an active interpretation of the policymakers’ views and analyses of the impact of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and constitutional amendments on their decisions. In the interim. Pro expressed the idea that it was, first and foremost, necessary to “lay out a clear policy that is not going to be ambiguous or confusing” to anyone in the gaming industry.

Unity after Debate

In the end, the commissioners were all agreed that, since the federal government policy says marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and since state gaming regulations have deemed it improper for licensees to conduct business with any entities that violate federal law, no association or connection with anyone who deals with marijuana is permitted. The commissioners were unified in their goal of protecting the reputation of the gaming industry by keeping it from being associated with illegal activity. If you have any questions about this
decision or any other legal matters that may affect your business in the Las Vegas region, you should consult with Stone Law Offices for guidance.


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S. Craig Stone II of Stone Law Offices, Ltd. serves clients throughout Clark County, Southern NV, Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Carson City, Reno, Washoe County, and Nye County. Also serving clients with asset protection nationwide.



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