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Nevada Ready To Fight Any Federal Moves Against Legalized Marijuana

Associated Press

People line up outside a marijuana dispensary July 1, 2017.

According to a report by the Associated Press, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind an Obama-era legal memo that outlined a hands-off approach to states that legalize pot.  


Nevada’s legalized storefront sales of pot began in July of last year and California just got its legalized recreational sales up and running at the start of this year. 


In Nevada, marijuana sales have outstripped the expectations of almost everyone. Supporters of legalization point to the millions it has already generated in taxes and the hundreds of jobs it has already created as reasons to preserve the industry.


One of those advocates is State Senator Tick Segerblom, D-NV. Segerblom said it is too early to know exactly what the Justice Department is going to do differently, but he believes just the report about rescinding the Cole Memo, as it is known, could hurt the industry.


“The chilling effect that this is already having is pretty scary,” he said.

Scott Rutledge agreed. He lobbied for the passage of the ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in Nevada.

“The biggest concern, the most chilling idea would be, that this would slow down on investment or stop investment in expanding the industry and new investments in the industry and I think that is something that we need to as a state come together and figure out how we’re going to support this industry,” he said.

He said the marijuana industry is well-regulated in Nevada and other states look to us to see how best to regulate their marijuana shops and grow operations. He said state lawmakers and regulators have taken the industry seriously.

Segerblom agrees that Nevada should stand up for what the voters of our state wanted.

“Personally, I would do whatever it takes," he said, “I for one, as a politician, think we need to do everything it takes to make sure they don’t stop us” 

During their interview with KNPR's State of Nevada, neither Segerblom nor Rutledge could say what Attorney General Adam Laxalt would do about Session's decision because he opposed the ballot measure but he is an advocate for state's rights.

Later Thursday, Laxalt talked to the Nevada Independent. He said his office has worked to implement the law and defended it against two lawsuits. And he and his office is now reviewing the DOJ's letter about the Cole Memo and "evaluating the ramifications for our state."

State Senator Tick Segerblom, D-NV.; Scott Rutledge, legalized marijuana advocate

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.
With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.