Nevada casinos brush off legal cannabis industry

Las Vegas may be a city of entertainment and a place where an ‘anything goes’ mentality is pervasive, but the city’s gambling industry titans have drawn the line at legal cannabis.

Recreational cannabis may have become legal in Nevada in July of 2017, but the Nevada Gaming Commission, in the first of a series of policy discussions held on August 24, has asserted that the drug has no place in casinos.

Their view is that as long as cannabis use is regarded as a felony by federal authorities in the USA, the drug will not be welcomed in the state’s casinos. Commissioners feel that the gambling industry’s reputation can only suffer negative consequences by being in any way associated with marijuana.

“On one hand you have the gaming industry and on the other hand you have the marijuana industry. The two shall not meet,” Commission chairman Tony Alamo told local reporters in Las Vegas.

There will be no indirect association allowed either, with the Gaming Commission also spending over an hour discussing the issue of venues such as casinos hosting shows or conferences which promote the use, sale, cultivation or distribution of cannabis.

The discussion concluded with the commissioners deciding unanimously that such shows should not be hosted by licensees. It was also decided that licensees should not engage in any business relationships with individuals or businesses involved in the marijuana industry, such as landlord-tenant arrangements.

Nevada state gaming laws already prohibit behaviour that would in any way discredit the industry, and the concern is that violating federal laws could do that. Tellingly, perhaps, there is also a feeling that the federal authorities could start paying closer attention to the Nevada gaming industry if marijuana became more closely tied up with gambling. Attracting this level of scrutiny may well be the key factor in the Commission’s decision.

So it looks as though cannabis fans in the Battle Born State will not be enjoying a spliff while they play at the casino table for a while yet. How long the Nevada Gaming Commission can continue its stance, though, as society changes its attitudes to cannabis use, remains to be seen.