The residents of Nevada may have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana last November, but the Nevada Gaming Commission isn’t having any of it. They have been explicitly against the vote since the beginning and made it clear that they in no way support casinos allowing for or providing marijuana to their customers. Staying on the right side of the federal government is the name of the game, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission, and they are serious about making sure that casinos fall in line.
Specifically, the Nevada Gaming Commission has said that casinos will put their gaming licenses in jeopardy should they decide to do any business with the burgeoning marijuana industry.
In a published statement, Terry Johnson, a member of the Commission board and a lawyer, said: “Unless the federal law is changed, the Board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval … is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming. Any such investment or involvement by gaming licenses or applicants would tend to reflect discredit upon gaming in the State of Nevada.”
Casino Owners Agree
It may surprise many to hear that in large part, casino owners are more than willing to comply with the Commission’s directives regarding marijuana use. In fact, the Nevada Resorts Association stood strong against the legalization vote in 2016, and many casino owners donated substantial sums to the opposition effort. Sheldon Adelson, the owner of multiple casinos and hotels, was the largest donator to the opposition campaign; he lost a son to drug overdose 12 years ago and reportedly believes that marijuana use can lead to use of narcotics.
No matter what the personal beliefs of owners on the nature of marijuana use and abuse, it is clear that none want to put their businesses at risk by invoking the ire of the federal government – likely a smart move.
Avoiding the Fallout
For those who oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use – and there are many in Nevada as 45.5 percent of the votes came back with a “no” on Question 2 – the question becomes how best to protect themselves and their children from the inevitable changes that will take place as the marijuana industry takes root, and more and more people begin using the drug. Based on what has occurred in other states where use of the drug has been legalized, especially Colorado, Nevadans can likely expect an increase in prevalence of and access to marijuana plants and products, increased rates of drugged driving, increased rates of kids accidentally ingesting the drug and ending up in the emergency room, and more.
For families who do not believe that these risks are outweighed by perceived benefits – that is, increased tax revenue – this is the time to prepare. If your family is concerned about the changing perceptions that marijuana use is safe and the potential changes in the community, you can:
- Talk to your kids about marijuana use and abuse and let them know the facts about addiction, the risk of driving while under the influence, and the increased risk of engaging in other risky behaviors while using the drug.
- Help a loved one currently living with active addiction to connect with treatment.
- Take part in increasing awareness of the effects of marijuana use and abuse in your community.
- Call your legislators and lobby for strict regulations regarding packaging of products laced with marijuana, driving after using marijuana, and use of the drug by anyone under the age of 21.
What Is Right for Your Family?
Though you cannot control what your family members who are of legal age do outside your home, you can take a strong stand against any use of the drug among your kids, and you can become active in your community in helping to determine how best to regulate use, sales, and production of the drug. You are an important part of your community, and your voice matters – both in protecting people from the effects of drugged driving and accidental drug poisoning and in helping your loved one to recognize the signs of addiction and connect with treatment.
Is today the day you start taking a stand?