Nevada Attorney General asked to rule on pot lounges |

Nevada Attorney General asked to rule on pot lounges

Geoff Dornan

The Nevada Department of Taxation has formally asked Attorney General Adam Laxalt for an opinion on whether the law allows marijuana use at special events and in lounges.

The request was made in the wake of a Legislative Counsel’s opinion the voter-approved law allowing recreational marijuana use doesn’t specifically prohibit marijuana consumption and possession in places where the public isn’t allowed and where entry is restricted to people 21 and over.

That LCB opinion also states local governments have the authority to license such businesses and consumption lounges, or the use of marijuana at special events just as those governments license other businesses.

The issue has been raised numerous times since the voters approved decriminalization of recreational marijuana with backers including State Sen. Tick Segerbloom, D-Las Vegas, pointing out there’s a huge tourist market for allowing the use of pot at special events.

Until that opinion, local officials and Taxation which regulates the marijuana law, had been operating under the assumption marijuana use was prohibited at special events because they’re held in public. The opinion basically says restricted access to such events means they aren’t really public.

When that opinion was announced, Gov. Brian Sandoval expressed reservations pointing out an LCB opinion doesn’t legally carry the weight of an official Attorney General’s Opinion.

The request for an opinion issued last week simply asks the attorney general to have his staff weigh in on the issue and rule on whether that authority is inherent in the voter-approved law or not.

“Does there need to be state law that provides for the licensing and regulatory structure of businesses that allow for marijuana use or consumption like the statutes that make the opening and maintaining of marijuana establishments lawful under state law?” asks the formal request signed by Taxation Director Deonne Contine.

She pointed out the LCB opinion raises many questions about the issue and the state’s authority to regulate marijuana businesses.

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