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It’s Official: Nevada Gaming Commission Is Saying ‘No’ to Marijuana

There is an ongoing discussion among members of the Nevada Gaming Commission regarding the new legal status of recreational marijuana in the state. Recently, they came to some solid conclusions regarding policy while still leaving room to determine how that policy would play out on a day-to-day basis.

Essentially, the Nevada Gaming Commission will not permit marijuana in casinos for as long as the drug remains illegal under federal law. Additionally, the Commission determined that businesses that hold gaming licenses should not do any business with those who are involved in the marijuana industry on any level. That is, casinos should not host shows or events that promote the use or sales of marijuana, avoid maintaining a business relationship of any kind with people or companies who are in the marijuana industry, and refuse financing to anyone in the marijuana industry.

While these large-scale issues have been decided, there is still a great deal of work to be done to determine how casinos should respond to employees and patrons who would like to use the drug.

Terry Johnson is a member of the Commission. He said: “We’ve got some work to do in terms of distilling what is going to be the policy and how it should be manifested. Is it going to be sufficient to make policy-type pronouncements or is it going to be necessary to adopt rules that put everyone on notice as to what the requirements and expectations are?”

Creating Boundaries

Determining the specific boundaries to put in place and how best to manage expectations and limitations going forward under the new marijuana laws is a task that a number of businesses and agencies are currently undertaking. For example, the court system and law enforcement will have to determine various issues, such as:

  • How much is too much to possess, purchase, or use
  • How to measure levels of intoxication
  • What penalties will be put in place for different levels of violations
  • How to address conflicts that arise as a result of marijuana (e.g., issues between employers and employees, neighbors, roommates, landlords and leasers, etc.)
  • Additionally, businesses will have to determine their policies regarding use of marijuana on the premises and/or how to respond to employees who test positive for marijuana use or come to work under the influence. Like alcohol, businesses will maintain the right to expect that their employees are sober while on the job, but unlike alcohol, marijuana is still illegal under federal law so the “right” to use the drug during off hours is not protected by the courts or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    In families across Nevada, the question of how to create boundaries around marijuana is a conversation that needs to happen. What is your family planning?

    Clear Communication

    If you live in a home with family members who span different generations, it is especially important to be very clear about what is and is not okay in terms of having marijuana in the house or being under the influence. Certain things should not be negotiable, such as:

  • No marijuana use in the house if there are children living in the home.
  • No storage of marijuana in the house with children unless it is under lock and key.
  • Avoid use of marijuana edibles that can be mistaken for non-laced treats by others.
  • No one should care for children or dependent adults, or operate a vehicle, while under the influence.
  • Beyond that, every family will have to determine what amount of use of the drug, if any, is appropriate and functional for the home – just like with alcohol. If there are signs of abuse of the drug – that is, if there are negative consequences that result from use – it is important to take action.

    Connecting with Care

    If your loved one is living with an active substance use disorder, you may be concerned about the legalization of recreational marijuana and how it will impact your loved one. This is a viable concern, and it may be that the new laws trigger your family to take action and help your family member in crisis to connect with treatment sooner rather than later. About 30 percent of people who use the drug regularly have a substance use disorder as a result.

    Is addictive use of marijuana a problem for your loved one?