Nevada has been a hot topic with cannabis advocates this week after a U.S. Attorney threatened federal enforcement at this weekend’s High TImes Cannabis Cup. But while festival attendees have been lighting up in Las Vegas without interference, one State Senator is trying to make it a little easier for Nevada residents to get stoned, even after The Cannabis Cup is gone.
Senator Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) introduced measures that would speed up Nevada’s recreational marijuana program, potentially allowing adults to purchase cannabis from licensed stores as soon as this summer, half a year earlier than the originally scheduled date of early 2018. Segerblom’s legislation would also make way for cannabis lounges and other on-site consumption businesses that could turn Las Vegas into a West Coast version of the Netherlands.
“We don’t want to create a black market where people can use it but they cannot buy it.” Segerblom said in an interview with Leafly. “Also, the governor put $100 million in his budget that he expects to obtain from recreational marijuana in the next two years. So we’ve got to get it out there and generate some tax revenue. And frankly, I’d like to get a jump on these other states. This is competition at this point. Nevada should be the center of marijuana tourism. I’ve been calling Las Vegas the Amsterdam of the West since 2013.”
Voters in Nevada approved recreational marijuana use in November, 2016, when, like California, and Massachusetts, recreational sales were set to start at the beginning of 2018. And while California and Massachusetts have both considered delaying that retail start date even further, Segerblom believes Nevada can blaze a faster path.
As far as cannabis lounges or other consumption destinations, Segerblom’s measures would put the power almost entirely in the hands of local governments. And with no Clean Air Act thanks to the state’s casinos, Las Vegas and other Nevada cities could explode with cannabis cafes.
“Basically it’s going to say local governments can do whatever they want to do.” Segerblom said. “There will be festivals, clubs, weddings, buses, horse-drawn carriages, destination resorts — whatever anyone can dream of. As long as you limit it to 21 and older, you can do anything you want with marijuana.”
Segerblom is confident that the democrat-run state house will push the legislation through, but he still needs two republican senators and one republican assemblyman to vote with him for the measures to succeed. But in Nevada, where brothels and casinos bring in a hefty share of state tax dollars, Segerblom doesn’t foresee a problem.
“This is Nevada. We sell sin and vices and addictive behaviors. If you want to stay in Kansas, then stay in Kansas.”