Las Vegas Sun

May 26, 2019

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Bill would create board to oversee marijuana industry

CARSON CITY — A bill introduced in the Assembly on Tuesday aims to fulfill one of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s main goals for the session — the creation of a Cannabis Compliance Board to oversee the marijuana industry.

Assembly Bill 533 would create the Cannabis Compliance Board and a Cannabis Advisory Commission. It would also set guidelines for issuing licenses for cannabis consumption lounges, among other provisions. Essentially, if it has to do with marijuana, the board will have oversight of it.

The board would work to ensure marijuana licensees follow laws regarding marijuana distribution and advertising. If the bill is approved, the board will go into effect Jan. 2, 2020. The bill needs the support of two-thirds of lawmakers to pass.

Under the bill, the Cannabis Compliance Board would have the ability to accept applications for cannabis consumption lounge licenses but would not be required to take applications.

Essentially, it would be up to the board whether to allow consumption lounges.

Any lounges that are approved cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or day care, within 1,500 feet of a business with a nonrestricted gaming license or in an airport.

Consumption lounges have been an issue since the legalization of marijuana in Nevada. Tourists have no place to legally consume it, as hotels and casinos don’t allow it and it is illegal to smoke on the street.

It is unclear what the impact would be in Las Vegas, which recently voted to allow permits for consumption lounges ahead of any state action on the issue.

Jace Radke, a spokesman for the city, said officials are reviewing the bill to determine if it would impact the local ordinance.

The board would also have the power to audit all marijuana licensees and forward any violations it finds to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The Cannabis Compliance Board would be made up of five people, with the chair of the board earning an annual salary of $46,000 and the other members making $40,000 each. The governor would have the power to appoint the members, who would serve four-year terms.

The board has to have representation from five backgrounds — physician, cannabis businessperson, accountant, lawyer and a member of law enforcement.

The Cannabis Advisory Commission would have 12 members — including the state Attorney General and executive director of the Department of Taxation — and would advise the Compliance Board on marijuana regulations and guidelines.

Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas and chair of the Assembly Committee on Judiciary, said the bill would likely be up before his committee next week. With less than 20 days left in the session, lawmakers will have to work quickly if they want to pass the bill.