Conflicting Views of Marijuana and Gaming During Recent Nevada Industry Meeting

Individuals involved in the gambling industry of Nevada met yesterday morning to discuss the casino gaming industry and the new marijuana industry, how the two can coincide as well as what is and is not allowed based on federal regulations. The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee met yesterday, a twelve-member committee created by Governor Brian Sandoval, to discuss the two industries and during the public comment section, there were conflicting ideas on cannabis use in the state.

The state of Nevada currently holds around 30% of the commercial casino market in the United States. In 2016, sales of marijuana increased by the same amount, 30%. In a few years, the sale of cannabis products could increase to the double-digit billions realm, at an estimated $30 billion. Because of its legality in Nevada, gaming officials have to sit down and discuss how the gaming industry could be affected.

From the start, gaming regulators of the state have not allowed companies that operate gaming to be involved in the cannabis industry. Sales cannot take place on site as well as smoking or consumption. Based on federal law, cannabis is still considered a banned substance. Last year, voters in Nevada decided to approve the usage of marijuana in a recreational sense and dispensaries began to open in July of this year.

During the meeting, there was a public comment section. It was during this time that conflicting ideas of usage of the substance were shared. Residents spoke during the meeting and stated that casinos should not be involved in the cannabis industry. These residents felt that smaller companies should be allowed to reap the benefits from marijuana sales.

The meeting also saw the discussion of how gaming companies could be involved in the cannabis industry without putting the casinos at risk. A.G. Burnett, the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, stated during the meeting that the substance has been considered a controlled one for decades and the casinos must abide by federal regulations.

A lawyer present during the meeting, Brian Barnes of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, commented that civil action may still take place within the marijuana industry. So for now, it seems wise that gaming operators will stay out of the industry for now to avoid any legal issues.

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