Gaming Officials Dig into Weeds of Pot Policies

GAMING regulators don’t want the Strip to go to pot. Starting this week, they will start talking about how they intend to keep it from doing so.

Regulators have said for months that because the federal government recognizes the possession and use of marijuana as a crime, resorts should stand clear of associating with the budding recreational marijuana industry.

State Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson has outlined some of the issues associated with marijuana use as it applies to the gaming industry, and the board has asked the Nevada Gaming Commission to address them.

Commission Chairman Tony Alamo said that would start with a discussion 1 p.m. Thursday at the boardroom in the Sawyer Building.

Initially, Alamo thought commissioners could wade through the issues in one sitting, but he said after seeing some of the questions about various topics that it’s likely there will be multiple meetings.

He used one of his favorite phrases to describe how the five-member commission will address topics.

“We’re going to start with the less controversial ones,” Alamo said, “and then work our way— excuse the pun— into the weeds.”

Multiple meetings

Alamo said topics are too broad to address them in one meeting.

“It needs a good policy discussion by the commission,” he said. “We simply can’t do it in one meeting.”

How long it will take is a work in progress. Depending how the first discussion goes, he said, he might accelerate or decelerate the pace.

And it won’t be a hearing: It will be a discussion among the commissioners, so any remarks from the audience will have to come in public comment periods before or after the discussion.

After the discussions are over, commissioners will consider whether they believe there is a need for additional regulations and, if so, start drafting them.

Philip Mannelly, an employment law attorney with the Reno office of McDonald Carano who has become an expert in Nevada’s new recreational marijuana law, said the issues facing regulators and licensees go well beyond the conflict between federal and state views on pot use.

Policymakers, he said, will have to address issues regarding impairment of both casino workers and patrons and clarify a resort’s responsibilities when it discovers marijuana on its premises.

‘Everything’s legal’ “You get people coming here thinking everything’s legal in Nevada and you can smoke marijuana in the casino,” Mannelly said. “But with the stance that the state Gaming Control Board has taken, casinos are taking a pretty hard line against not condoning any use or possession.

“If they (customers) are using it on site, just as if a patron at a casino is overly intoxicated or is being unruly or obnoxious or card counting, a casino has every right to ask them to leave their private premises, and if they don’t, they’re trespassing,” he said. “Those become business decisions of the casino.” Many resorts have policies on smoking in guest rooms. In some resorts in Colorado, which has had recreational marijuana on the books since January 2014, placards are displayed in some hotel rooms indicating marijuana use is banned as well as smoking. But Mannelly said banning smoking doesn’t necessarily banish marijuana with edible pot in play.

“You can tell someone not to smoke in their room, but can you really police someone bringing edibles in their suitcase and eating marijuana- infused Gummi Bears? To be honest, there’s really not a lot of policing that can be done,” he said.

To read entire article click here LV Review Journal – Gaming officials Dig into Weeds of Pot Policies

By Richard N. Velotta

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Aug 20, 2017)


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