Lawmakers make major improvements to cannabis policy in 2019.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed into law three notable bills to improve cannabis policies this year. Here is a quick overview and why they are so important:
AB 132 prohibits most employers from denying applicants a job if cannabis shows up on a pre-employment drug test. This bill addresses a big concern — cannabis use can be detected for weeks after ingestion, meaning drug screens in no way correlate with impairment. So far, states have been generally unwilling to change employment standards, even when cannabis use is legal outside work hours. This bill is a major development for Nevadans, and MPP wants to see other states take notice.
SB 430 was signed into law last week and expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. The bill adds forms of autism, anxiety, and chronic pain — in addition to severe pain, which was already included. A key addition were those individuals who are "dependent upon or addicted to opioids," making medical cannabis an alternative to anyone at risk while taking prescription narcotic medication. This is part of a trend we see around the country, and it's great to see Nevada added to the list of states offering this important alternative.
AB 192 allows individuals to have their past convictions sealed if the conduct — such as marijuana possession — has been legalized or decriminalized. While this is not as expansive as completely removing the conviction, sealing can significantly reduce the stigma and collateral consequences lingering from the failed war on cannabis.
MPP is proud to have led Nevada's legalization initiative in 2016 and important improvements to the medical cannabis law in 2013. Today, lawmakers are making sensible improvements to those programs, and more importantly, the medical and adult-use programs continue to serve the state and its residents.
Voters have important choices for governor and U.S. Senate that will affect cannabis policy
Early voting has already begun in Nevada, and current Gov. Brian Sandoval is term-limited and will step down in early 2019. Nevadans now have a choice between two major party candidates who have experience with the state’s regulatory cannabis program.
Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, helped implement regulations for cannabis businesses in the state’s most populous county and for the McCarran International Airport. He is particularly concernedwith finding a solution to banking-related challenges. His consistent support for sensible rules and interest in seeking solutions earns Steve Sisolak an A grade from MPP.
His opponent is Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), whose office had the duty to defend the legalization program from those who sought to delay implementation, and he objected to the federal government’s withdrawal of guidance on federal policy toward regulatory standards. However, he opposed Measure 2 from the outset and also opposed allowing out-of-state patients from getting access to medical cannabis while in Nevada. His mixed support earns Adam Laxalt a C from MPP.
Turning to the U.S. Senate race, as a Congressman, Dean Heller (R) voted against prohibiting federal intervention in medical marijuana laws back in 2007. But more recently, he cosponsored a banking and a medical cannabis-related bill, the CARERS Act. Sen. Heller gets a B. In contrast, challenger Jacky Rosen (D) cosponsors numerous favorable bills, including the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, earning Rep. Rosen an A.
This is an important election for Nevadans so please make sure you get out and vote! Early voting lasts until Friday, November 2 and Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.
Heading to Burning Man? Here’s what you need to know about Black Rock City’s and Nevada’s marijuana laws.
If you are heading to Burning Man this year, you may be thinking about bringing cannabis to the playa, since Nevada has legalized marijuana. Not so fast! Before you head out, there are some important things you need to know:
• Burning man is held on FEDERAL land, and the Bureau of Land Management will enforce federal law, which unfortunately considers all marijuana possession a criminal offense — even if you have a medial card! BLM may also ticket you for violations of various rules in the “closure order,” though these, thankfully, are civil rather than criminal.
• “Gifting” marijuana to others is drug trafficking under federal law, even though no money is being exchanged. And if you are caught selling marijuana, or are found in possession of more than one ounce, you will likely be prosecuted under Nevada law by the local Pershing County Sheriffs, who also patrol Burning Man.
• Especially important: GATE ROAD is also federal property, and a lot of the law enforcement activity happens while people are driving into the event. In addition, some of the roads into the event, near Wadsworth and Nixon, pass through tribal reservations, where federal law enforcement can and do make arrests. Keep in mind that you have fewer rights while driving than you do in your home (or in this case, your tent or RV), and can be stopped for a broken taillight or any other minor infraction by law enforcement, who may ask you for consent to search your vehicle (you have the right to refuse). Any marijuana consumption while on the Gate Road could result in a ticket or charges for DUI or marijuana possession.
• Before or after Burning Man, when you are not on federal land: Adults ages 21 and older may legally purchase marijuana from retail establishments in Nevada! MPP supported the initiative that made Nevada the fifth of eight states to end prohibition.
• Public consumption could result in a misdemeanor charge, with a fine of up to $600. And because the casinos’ regulators directed them to follow federal law, you cannot consume in hotel-casinos. MPP and our allies hope to establish safe, legal consumption spaces for tourists, but that won’t happen before Burning Man 2018. But you can consume in private homes, which may include private homes for rent.
• You should also know that Nevada has very strict laws on driving under the influence of marijuana. There is a “per se” threshold of two ng/mL of THC in your blood, meaning that you can be convicted based on a positive test result whether you were impaired or not. If you are a regular marijuana consumer, please note that you can have this amount in your system even if you haven’t consumed in a couple of days.
• If you do have an encounter with law enforcement, it’s always a good idea to know your rights. In addition, Burning Man would like to know about your experience, and if you get into trouble, you can reach out to the volunteer group Lawyers for Burners for help after you return home.
This legal information is provided as a courtesy and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, which is an interpretation of the applicable law to your specific circumstances, we encourage you to consult an attorney. MPP is offering this information as a public service and is in no way affiliated with the Burning Man Project.
Legal adult marijuana sales began in Nevada on Saturday, making it the fifth state in the nation to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. PT, adults 21 and older with a valid ID will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana-infused edibles or concentrates from licensed marijuana retail outlets. Retail marijuana sales will be subject to a 10 percent sales tax, which state officials estimate will generate more than $60 million in the first two years.
Question 2 required the state to initiate adult sales by January 1, 2018, but the Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations allowing sales to begin six months earlier through existing licensed medical marijuana outlets. Marijuana possession has been legal for adults 21 and older since Question 2 took effect on January 1, 2017.
MPP's Mason Tvert made the following statement in a press release:
“Legal marijuana sales in Nevada are going to accelerate growth in public support for ending marijuana prohibition,” Tvert said. “Tens of millions of visitors per year from all over the U.S. and around the world will see firsthand that regulating marijuana works. What happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas, but what is learned about marijuana in Vegas will be shared with everyone back home.”
Today, the Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations proposed by the Department of Taxation allowing the state to issue recreational marijuana licenses by July 1, 2017. The ballot measure requires the state to initiate sales by January 1, 2018, but this “early start” program will allow businesses to open six months sooner.
Only medical marijuana establishments that are already in operation can apply to function as recreational retailers during the early start period. The establishments must be in good standing and must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee as well as a specific licensing fee. The establishment must also provide written confirmation of compliance with their municipality’s zoning and location requirements.
The tax department plans to accept applications from May 15 to May 31 of this year, and a second application period is anticipated later in the year. The incentive for the early start program stems from Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over two years to support education.
Now, the focus shifts to local governments given that marijuana companies need both a state and local license to operate.
Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom has introduced a bill that would allow social use of marijuana in certain venues, such as lounges, bars, and coffee shops, as well as at special events. SB 236 would allow local governments to issue permits to businesses and licenses for special events allowing marijuana consumption in designated places.
Social use would be monitored locally and would only allow adults aged 21 and over to publically consume marijuana. SB 236 outlines clear regulatory instructions that social use venues cannot exist within 1000 feet of a school, public park or playground, church, or anywhere that is otherwise viewable from a public place. If passed, SB 236 would become the first state law to address public consumption of marijuana. With legal sales expected to begin soon, SB 236 is increasingly important to ensure consumption can take place in a safe and legal environment.
Fifty-five percent of Nevada voters approved Question 2, legalizing adult use and possession of small quantities of marijuana, and state regulators are demonstrating their commitment to immediately begin complying with the wishes of Nevada citizens by creating rules to establish retail sales by July 1, 2017.
The Culinary Union represents more than 57,000 workers in the state, so this endorsement gives a tremendous boost to our efforts to end marijuana prohibition.
Local 226 knows, as we do, that it is time to stop punishing adults who choose to use marijuana. They also know that passage of Question 2 will take marijuana out of the criminal market and place it in regulated businesses that will create well-paying jobs.
The campaign in support of Question 2 has recently stepped up its advertising efforts in support of the measure.
The latest video ads focus on the benefits of taxing marijuana sales, which would generate significant new revenue for schools. Previous ads have highlighted support from local and state officials, capitalized on recent political events, and detailed the success of a similar ballot initiative that was adopted in Colorado in 2012.
You can watch all of the ads here on the campaign's website.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol launched a signature drive Tuesday in support of a 2016 ballot measure that would end marijuana prohibition in Nevada. State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) and former Nevada Republican Senate Caucus Executive Director Joe Brezny were the first to sign the petition at a news conference in Sen. Segerblom's law office.
The initiative would make private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, licensed cultivation facilities, licensed manufacturing facilities, licensed testing facilities, and licensed distributors. It also establishes a 15% excise tax on wholesale transactions and directs all tax revenue from the tax to be spent on education.
In order to qualify for the 2016 ballot, the campaign must submit more than 100K valid signatures by Nov. 11, 2014.