Nevadans voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2016, and immediately afterward I began work to ensure the law was enacted as quickly and smartly as possible. Recreational marijuana dispensaries opened for business then in record time — less than eight months after the public referendum. Nevada is now the gold standard for cannabis regulation, but we can still do more to make Las Vegas the leading destination for marijuana tourism. Clark County should establish a marijuana bank to improve public safety, and allow for the creation of facilities and events where marijuana can be enjoyed in a social setting. In addition, I have led the call for marijuana tax revenues to be further dedicated to public education Clark County.
I am the person to lead Clark County into this new era, having already spent years in the legislature writing the bills that allowed marijuana innovators to plant seeds in Nevada. The industry has grown exponentially thanks to these regulations, which were inspired by trips to study best practices in Colorado, California, Arizona and Washington.
Building on my experience shepherding modern and sophisticated medical marijuana regulations into effect, I was able to get our recreational standards put into law in July 2017, when dispensaries began selling their products to adults over the age of 21. Now I want to focus my passion for marijuana rights on Clark County. Las Vegas is America’s playground. In order to maintain our status as the go-to place for adventurous celebrations, we need to make marijuana use an option in specially-designated businesses, parks, and venues. Hotels especially need to be permitted to allow marijuana use on their property. I drafted bills to this effect in the State Senate, yet conservative Republicans stood in the way of this inevitable progress.
Fortunately, Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau has stated that cities and counties can create their own ordinances governing marijuana consumption in businesses. It’s up to Clark County now to make the choice that Denver has already made in order to stay head of the curve.
Las Vegas’s marijuana industry is already making national headlines. It nearly ran out of product shortly after opening its doors to tourists, which raises another issue: Where to store the cash.
Our Nixon-era federal drug laws still classify the plant as illegal, and President Trump’s administration has shown hostility toward states regulating its use. For that reason private banks are afraid to accept marijuana industry cash for fear that they’ll lose their licenses. Until these anachronistic federal standards are changed, local governments need to provide a public savings and loan option. A public bank would help ease the security threat that these cash-heavy businesses feel as potential robbery targets. It may also deter other illegal activities, such as tax evasion and money laundering, which take place whenever large amounts of cash circulate without a paper trail. California is considering this option, as well. Profits from a government-owned bank could help fund Clark County’s schools, public transit needs, and infrastructure projects, all of which are suffering from longterm neglect.
And to continue leading the nation in marijuana policy, I’d also like to see:
- A program that helps people with marijuana offenses on their criminal records have those charges expunged.
- Standards that encourage diversity in the industry, incentivizing women and people of color to become marijuana entrepreneurs.
- Updates when necessary to Nevada’s top-tier standard for testing, handling, and taxation of the plant to ensure it’s safe and of strong fiscal benefit to the public.
My work nurturing this industry to its current legal status inspired Euphoria Wellness in Las Vegas to name a marijuana strain “Segerblom Haze” because, as they stated in a press release, I’ve “fought the battle” and “proven to be quite potent on this issue.”
It’s said to be “energetic and uplifting” bud, which is the same level of passion and enthusiasm I’ll bring to Clark County Commission and District E.