Nevada has had a medical marijuana program since 2000. However, because medical marijuana dispensaries haven’t been allowed, safe access to medicine has been an issue for Nevada medical marijuana patients. Earlier this year legislation was passed that created rules to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
As you can imagine, people from the gaming industry were trying to get into the booming medical marijuana industry by opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada. However, it appears that those plans have been axed, as the Nevada Gaming Control Board has issued a statement declaring that no Nevada Gaming Control Board licensees or applicants can open a medical marijuana business. Per a letter from May 6th:
“Accordingly, unless the federal law is changed, the Board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming. Further, the Board believes that any such investment or involvement by gaming licensees or applicants would tend to reflect discredit upon gaming in the State of Nevada.”
I understand that protecting the gaming industry is important to the State of Nevada. However, so is helping suffering patients, as is generating jobs and tax revenue. Nevada was hit hard by the economic slowdown, and the medical marijuana industry would help the recovery process. I’m curious to see how thing shake out in Nevada.
Nevada has unique issues that other state medical marijuana industries rarely face. For starters, Nevada gets more tourists than most other states. Allowing medical marijuana patients from other states to use medical marijuana facilities would increase the customer pool significantly. At this time, Nevada medical marijuana dispensaries will not be allowed to serve out of state patients. Another factor is the desert climate of Nevada, which makes outdoor cultivation almost impossible, and even posses humidity related problems for indoor grow operations. These are among the many issues that the Nevada medical marijuana industry will have to face going forward.