The Nevada Gaming Commission will reportedly hold a special meeting later today in order to address a number of issues surrounding how the western state’s recent legalization of marijuana should effect its licensing of firms associated with gambling.
According to a report from the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in the “Silver State” after voters passed the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which was also known as “Question 2”, in November. But, using and selling the drug is still a violation of federal law and the Nevada Gaming Commission purportedly does not want the state’s gambling companies to be associated with something that is technically illegal.
The newspaper reported that the Nevada Gaming Commission is concerned that the federal government may begin to take a stronger interest in Nevada’s gaming industry should the state’s regulator appear to be unconcerned about the use of marijuana.
“Were we to take a position that would allow a federal law to be broken and not act on it, that has a great chance of inviting federal intervention,” Randolph Townsend from the Nevada Gaming Commission reportedly told an official meeting shortly after Nevada voters approved the measure permitting the recreational use of marijuana.
The Las Vegas Sun reported that state laws already specifically prohibit the Nevada Gaming Commission from licensing firms that engage in behavior that could discredit the industry and the body must now decide whether this includes being involved in the use or supply of marijuana. Additional issues surround the licensing of key employees such as casino executives as well as the registration of front-line employees including dealers and hosts that may have business relationships with the marijuana industry.
The newspaper reported that the Nevada Gaming Commission is additionally set to look into the licensing of vendors such as payment processing or information technology services firms that may work with casinos and the marijuana industry as well as the rules surrounding where casino patrons may actually consume the drug.
The Las Vegas Sun reported that law enforcement officials in Clark County class the use of marijuana in a public space or moving vehicle as a misdemeanor crime with those found guilty subject to a fine of up to $600 for a first offense. However, it is not clear whether a hotel room that can be rented by anyone is currently defined as a public space while further questions surround meeting rooms and convention facilities.
“We’re asking for your guidance on whether [the use of marijuana] will be allowed in your cars or in the privacy of the hotel rooms,” Bill Young, Chief Compliance Officer for Las Vegas-based Station Casinos, reportedly told the Nevada Gaming Commission at the same official meeting.
Tony Alamo, Chairman for the Nevada Gaming Commission, reportedly told the newspaper that he is not sure whether today’s meeting will result in his body releasing a formal policy statement and advised gaming firms in search of guidance to refer to previous discussions.
“It’s complicated [and] it can’t be done in one meeting,” Alamo told the Las Vegas Sun.