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October 24, 2021

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Marijuana panel talks advertising, airport and weed transportation in latest meeting

Essence Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Steve Marcus

Marijuana buds are displayed at the Essence medical marijuana dispensary in Henderson Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. The company has three locations in the Las Vegas Valley including one on the Las Vegas Strip.

The advertising of legalized recreational marijuana should be discreet and business-like, and educational materials on how to purchase and use the plant responsibly should be readily available for tourists when they arrive at McCarran International Airport.

The 12-member Green Ribbon Marijuana Advisory panel, which met Monday for the second of three scheduled get-togethers, also said marijuana license holders should be allowed to participate in the mandatory third-party transportation service for recreational marijuana outlined in the voter-approved Ballot Question 2.

Such provisions will help Nevada’s new recreational marijuana industry align with the current medical industry, which they argued should be mirrored to keep legal marijuana prices below those of black market sellers.

“We already have a plan in place with medical,” said panelist Armen Yemenidjian of Essence Cannabis Dispensary. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel; we want to keep prices fair for patients.”

Unlike last week’s advisory meeting, which featured a contentious back-and-forth between Las Vegas Sands executive Andy Abboud and Las Vegas dispensary owner Frank Hawkins, Monday’s get-together was cordial and the topics were almost unanimously agreed on.

“We want to make sure marijuana is controlled, regulated and put forward in the best possible way,” Las Vegas attorney and panelist Brian Padgett said. “It’s still controversial and we want to make sure it’s portrayed in the best possible light.”

Question 2, which passed last November by nine points, calls for the Nevada Legislature, Department of Taxation and local municipalities to form the framework for recreational marijuana sales. Adults age 21 and over can recreationally possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana flower or up to one-eighth ounce of marijuana concentrates.

But unlike in Nevada’s medicinal marijuana industry, the voter-approved recreational measure also calls for a distribution service to be performed by a third party. That means a marijuana license holder in Nevada would coordinate the transportation of the plant from a cultivation or production facility to a dispensary. Current regulations for medical marijuana do not include such a measure.

Hawkins argued that while the approved ballot question cannot be changed for three years, according to Nevada law, dispensary owners should be allowed to participate as a third-party service for their own marijuana transportation.

“I don’t want to pay for a distributor. If there’s going to be a third party, we should be able to choose if we want to deliver as well,” he said. “We should be able to choose to deliver our own products.”

Yemenidjian and Padgett echoed that statement arguing measures that create “unnecessary costs” will ultimately be reflected in the price of recreational marijuana to customers. If prices are pushed too high, potential buyers could return to the black market, where “untested and unregulated” marijuana is sold illegally at lower prices, they said.

“That goes against what we’re trying to do here,” Yemenidjian said.

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