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Casinos filled with cannabis smoke? Not likely


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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a casino in Las Vegas and light up a joint without getting in trouble?

Well, unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to do that anytime soon. The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee is currently discussing this topic, and local advocates say they don’t believe there will be any changes made to current policies.

“Are they going to be open to consumption in their facilities? No,” Will Adler, director of the Sierra Cannabis Coalition in Nevada, told Cannabis News Box

Adler said he doesn’t see casinos starting to allow cannabis smoking in casinos anytime soon, because casinos are federally regulated. They’re also not going to want to take the risk that comes with allowing the open use of a federally illegal drug. However, he does believe people will consume cannabis in casinos anyway.

“I don’t see someone doing a bong rip in a casino, but I do see someone using an edible or something discreet,” Adler said.

Considering you can drink and smoke cigarettes in Nevada casinos, you would think you could light up some cannabis, especially since Nevada is currently having a big debate about social use spaces. However, Vegas’ Gaming Control Board is not currently being friendly with the cannabis industry. That powerful board told casinos to keep away from cannabis.

“The Gaming Control Board is the one that came out and said, ‘You should separate yourselves arms-length away from everything marijuana,’” Adler said. “It wasn’t a mandate, it was just a recommendation, but a recommendation from the Gaming Control Board is like God speaking to casinos. It’s something you don’t ignore.”

This recommendation seems to have had a significant effect, as the annual Marijuana Business Expo that has always been hosted in the Rio casino was moved this year.

“The Marijuana Business Expo is the biggest event for marijuana in the nation,” Adler said. “It happens in Las Vegas every year, and every year until this year it was at the Rio—a casino… This year, whether it’s because of this Gaming Control Board update or not, the Rio didn’t have it. It was at a convention center, which is a non-gaming property.”

While cannabis is growing in popularity in Nevada since the state legalized, and it’s making a lot of money, Adler says the cannabis industry in the state will never be as big or as powerful as gaming. Because of this, protecting the gaming companies comes ahead of supporting cannabis with Nevada’s politicians.

Until cannabis is legalized nationwide, Adler said, it’s going to be hard to convince the Gaming Control Board to change its opinion.

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