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Talk of Federal Cannabis Crackdown in Nevada Draws Partisan Reactions

January 5, 2018
Lucio Ortiz shops for marijuana at The Source dispensary, Saturday, July 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Democrats expressed outrage while Republicans took a wait-and-see approach Thursday after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue marijuana cases in their districts.


Sessions Rescinds Cole Memo, Which Protected State-Legal Cannabis From Feds

State Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom, a Democrat and the dean of marijuana legislation in Nevada, worried the Trump administration reversal of the hands-off Obama-era policy would snuff out a budding business.

“We have hundreds of millions of dollars invested, tens of millions of dollars in taxes we’re anticipating that we’ve already budgeted, and thousands of employees making a good wage who will be affected,” Segerblom said. “If they intend to prosecute, it would shut us down.”

“It’s going to be up to the new U.S. attorney, but we don’t know what her position is on this yet.”
Riana Durrett , Nevada Dispensary Association executive

Adult-use cannabis became legal in July in Nevada, where the federal prosecutor’s office is now in transition.

The appointment of interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson was announced Wednesday. She has yet to arrive from her former job in Texas. She has not publicly said what her position will be on marijuana and did not immediately respond Thursday to messages.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, who faces a tough party primary this year, said Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, both Republicans, should meet with federal officials about the policy change.


FAQ: What We Know About Jeff Sessions’ DOJ Action Against Legal Cannabis

Sandoval is a moderate Republican and former federal judge who appointed Heller to the Senate in 2011 and talked with Sessions about marijuana policy last April.

The governor said he expects to meet with the new top prosecutor in Nevada after she arrives.

Sandoval calls Nevada’s marijuana industry a model for other states, while working within the guidelines of federal policies.

Medical marijuana became legal in Nevada in 2015, and recreational pot sales won voter approval in November 2016.


Leslie Bocskor: Nevada ‘Best Regulatory Framework in the World’

Statewide, 62 medical and recreational pot dispensaries reaped more than $13 million in taxes in the first three months of operation, Nevada Dispensary Association executive Riana Durrett said. She tallied more than 6,700 industry jobs, with hourly wages averaging more than $19.

“We don’t know what this means,” Durrett said of Sessions’ comments. “It’s going to be up to the new U.S. attorney, but we don’t know what her position is on this yet.”

Laxalt, a Republican candidate for governor this fall, said his office was evaluating the ramifications for Nevada. He said he opposed legalization at the ballot box but his office defended the law against lawsuits once it passed.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, derided as “hypocrisy” the policy change from a presidential administration that she accused of “trampling on the will of Nevadans and creating unnecessary confusion for our state.”

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  • Denny Brock

    Congress should make law ,its a states rights issue ,way overdue Trump make a stand.

  • Donald Estlund

    Crumbling away !!!! Dear Donald Trump put a end to this please…My pain worsens every year, and along with that my anxiety worsens. I am ready to count on mother nature to help me!!! Not another packed together of who knows whats in it except side effects 2 pages long written so small you can’t hardly read them. And when you do read them the words are from another planet. I’ve had seizures, studdering, muscle twitches or spasms , black outs, 48 hour naps, uncontrolled rages. Please admit legalized flowers from mother nature, to me they have a wide variety of beauty and are very sought out plant from many of our native animals. They will also bring a huge amount of fragrance, from skunk to all varieties of fruits, Candy’s,and even a type of perfume. Even if we don’t smoke the miracle flower. They are a naturally occurring plant that completes mother natures circle. They are adaptable to the entire planet and all over the world mother nature has spread such a beautiful flower to all corners of the world. And you and our country can make money ! Is that so bad , an increased economy ,an improvement in unemployment a chance for all of the U.S.A. .We would be the first country making the right move. These time where taxes increase and ssi failing and I’m surely not the only person loosing faith in our doctors. What’s the big deal are we going to let such a simple thing go round and round . I’m sick to my stomach watching everyone debate the ordeal . How many checks have we paid these politicians to argue over a flower a miracle flower that will put money in your pocket .One more thing cigggarets are legally killing every one and you left the choice up to us get sick and die or heart attacks, emphysema, cancer ! What a country !!!

  • Susan Simpson

    It’s time for this shit to stop!