Nevada lawmakers have sent the governor a large-scale marijuana reform bill that would more than double the personal possession limit, consolidate licensing rules and broaden eligibility for participation in the market by people with prior felony convictions.
The cannabis omnibus legislation from Sen. Dallas Harris (D) passed the Assembly in a 28-14 vote on Monday, just a few days after it cleared the Senate.
The measure would make a series of revisions to the state’s existing marijuana laws, in part by increasing the possession and purchase limit for cannabis from one ounce to 2.5 ounces. The amount of cannabis concentrates that adults can possess is also being doubled from one-eighth of an ounce to one-quarter of an ounce.
Also, it would make it so adult-use marijuana retailers would no longer need to have a separate medical cannabis license to serve patients. Recreational retailers would automatically serve as dual licensees.
Regulators would no longer be able to issue or renew medical marijuana licenses after January 1, 2024—unless the applicant is located in a jurisdiction that has opted out of permitting adult-use facilities. Medical cannabis patients would be exempt from the state excise tax at recreational retailers.
Fees for licensing applications and renewals would also be reduced under the legislation.
Another major change under the bill would give regulators discretion when considering the issuance of marijuana business licenses to people with prior felon convictions.
The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board would be empowered to approve licenses to key stakeholders of a cannabis company who have such prior convictions if it “determines that doing so would not pose a threat to the public health or safety or negatively impact the cannabis industry in this State.”
The board would also need to “impose any conditions and limitations on the granting of an exemption that the Board determines necessary to preserve the public health and safety or mitigate the impact of granting the exemption on the cannabis industry in this State.”
Further, the bill would require the state Cannabis Advisory Commission to carry out a study into the potential effects of removing marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), as well as the state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act, on the marijuana industry.
A county court deemed the state’s designation of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance despite the enactment of legalization as unconstitutional last year. The state Board of Pharmacy is appealing the ruling.
Additionally, the legislation that’s heading to Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) would require regulators to consider whether any proposed rule change for the industry “is likely to have an adverse effect on the environment and, if so, whether there are any methods to reduce or eliminate that adverse effect which would not impose an economic burden on holders of an adult-use cannabis establishment license or medical cannabis establishment license.”
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Meanwhile, the Nevada legislature also recently approved a resolution that urges Congress to federally legalize marijuana.
On Sunday, lawmakers separately gave final approval to a bill that would create a new working group to study psychedelics and develop a plan to allow regulated access for therapeutic purposes. It now also heads to the governor’s desk.
Nevada law enforcement regulators also recently proposed to revise the state’s employment policy so that prior marijuana possession convictions for amounts that are now legal would no longer be a disqualifying factor for police recruits.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) separately voted to send a proposed regulatory amendment to the governor that would formally protect athletes from being penalized over using or possessing marijuana in compliance with state law.
NSAC, which regulates unarmed combat sports within the state, voted unanimously to stop penalizing professional fighters for testing positive for marijuana in 2021, but the policy hasn’t been integrated into the code. The new amendment would change that.
Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily.