A new federal threat creates a cloud of uncertainty for Nevada’s cannabis industry

Sessions’ move has left Nevadans in a state of confusion regarding legalized weed.

On January 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions killed the nation’s buzz by removing the loose, Obama-era advisories on marijuana policy. His move created way more questions than answers, but here’s what we know so far.

You (most likely) won’t find your favorite shop shuttered. The feds can’t make the local authorities enforce their laws, and the chances of the FBI suddenly taking down dispensaries seems incredibly low at the moment, but as long as marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug, nothing is guaranteed.

Business as usual—sort of. Dispensaries and grow houses have momentum on their side, so expect them to keep on keeping on. Sessions’ “return to the rule of law” creates extreme uncertainty, however, which is bad for business. Until we get clarity, expect a cooling effect on innovation and investment.

Consumption lounges are in jeopardy. Consumption lounges were a practical shoo-in for the City of Las Vegas, but now all bets are off. “The memo caught a lot of people off-guard,” Assistant City Attorney Bryan Scott says. In the next few weeks, his department will brief the City Council, which will then decide how to proceed.

A Texas prosecutor is Nevada’s wild card. Right before Sessions’ cannabis coup, he appointed Dallas’ Dayle Elieson to be Nevada’s interim United States Attorney. This carpetbagger will decide how and when to interpret the law, and nobody knows what she’ll do (at press time, she had not responded to the Weekly’s inquiries). “Will the U.S. attorney decide to prosecute people? Will she give them time to get out of the industry, or will she start enforcing it right away? We’re waiting to see how it plays out,” Scott says. “People in the industry will monitor what she does and figure out where they stand.”

What you can do. State Senator Tick Segerblom suggests contacting Sessions, President Trump and Senator Dean Heller with comments. “If Heller would stand up and say, ‘This is unacceptable’ to Sessions, they’d have to back down, because Sessions needs his vote,” Segerblom says. In the meantime, he offers another piece of advice: “I’m telling everybody to go down and buy as much [cannabis] as you can buy, because tomorrow it may not be there.”

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