Nevada senator proposes bill to legalize cannabis clubs and marijuana use at events
A bill proposed this legislative session aims to bring more tourists to Nevada to use recreational marijuana.
"That's what we do. We sell sex. We sell drugs. We sell gambling." Senator Tick Segerblom wants to add marijuana to that list and make Nevada a destination for people who want to use recreational pot.
Segerblom said, "if we're going to attract people to Nevada to use marijuana, which I think we are, then we need to find a place to use it."
Currently, Nevadans can only use marijuana in their homes per state law. That's why the senator drafted SB 236.
Segerblom spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. "My concern is that given that fact, we're going to have lots of people come here to Nevada and want to purchase it, and then we're going to have to figure out where they can use it, or if they don't have a place for them to use it. Then, they're going to be walking up and down the strip or walking in downtown Reno, which I don't think any of us want that."
Many tourists stay in hotels, but because it's still illegal under federal law, marijuana is not allowed in any building where gambling takes place.
Joey Gilbert is the Vice President of Government Affairs for MYNT Cannabis Dispensary. He said, "you can't gamble. You can't game. You can't be in casino entertainment and have cannabis. Until such a time as that happens, where are people going to go?"
SB 236 would allow for businesses like cannabis clubs and give local governments the ability to issue permits for marijuana use at events like concerts and festivals.
Gilbert said, "more than anything, it's just providing an environment where people are comfortable, safe, and they're around other like-minded cannabis users."
But several law enforcement officials have already expressed concerns about the bill. A representative for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department addressed senators on Thursday. He said, "I see some major public safety concerns."
The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is also worried about broad language in the bill, which would allow for almost any type of business to obtain a license for marijuana to be used on their property.
Sen. Segerblom said, "my bill would say to the cities: 'The sky's the limit. If you want to have horse-drawn carriages, if you want to have weddings, if you want to have hotels.'"
Joey Gilbert has met with law enforcement officials about the bill. He said, "it's going to come down to making sure the right protocol, the right procedures are in place to make sure cannabis doesn't get outside of that environment, wherever you are."
The Legislative Liason for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office said his agency is committed to working with Segerblom to make sure public safety is a top priority.
Segerblom's bill would give city and county governments the option to allow cannabis cluba and marijuana use at events. Local governments would also have the ability to opt out of the law.