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Nevada Gaming Commission Reaffirms Ban on Legal Cannabis in Casinos

After a meeting on Thursday, Nevada regulators one again decided that marijuana use and possession will remain illegal in casinos until federal legalization takes hold.

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Back in November, the state of Nevada voted to legalize recreational cannabis, effectively adding another tourist honeytrap to the state’s internationally acclaimed gaming industry. However, visitors looking to dabble in both Sin City’s green and gambling will have to do so separately or risk running into trouble with some 420-unfriendly pit bosses.

After a policy meeting last Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission reaffirmed that the consumption and possession of marijuana will remain illegal in casinos as long as the plant remains a federal felony. State regulators have stated that cannabis could threaten the reputation of the renowned gaming industry, and unanimously opposed the integration of legal pot into gambling resorts.   

For now, public use of marijuana is illegal in Nevada, meaning that tourists looking to mingle in pot shops and slot machines must be discreet in their enjoyment. Instead of creating their own policy for the gaming industry, some committee members have used the public consumption law to support their reasoning. Others simply pointed to federal prohibition, arguing that casinos should operate in accordance to United States law.   

During the discussion, the commissioners discussed a handful of topics, including the allowance of pro-cannabis events at casinos, business relationships between gaming companies and the marijuana industry, and licensees and cannabis companies exchanging financing. However, the appointed regulators refused to go into details on the issues, opting to discourage any connections between casinos and cannabis. According to Commission Chairman Tony Alamo, each individual case should be judged on its own merit.

Although Nevada’s recreational cannabis started off with a boom, the state’s longstanding alcohol and gaming sectors have been reluctant to accept the newly established market. Liquor wholesalers are fighting tooth and nail to appeal a recent court decision that would permit distribution licensing to applicants outside of the booze industry. Meanwhile, gaming regulators have urged casinos to keep an eye out for stoned gamblers on their premises.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will host more meetings in the coming months, but their initial outlook doesn’t bode well for the state’s cannabis industry. Until federal illegality is lifted, there’s a good chance that bringing your bud to the blackjack table will be an automatic bust.

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