96°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas marijuana industry relieved with Sessions resignation

The forced resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week has people in the Southern Nevada marijuana industry breathing a sigh of relief.

But time will tell whether President Donald Trump’s administration develops a new stance on legalization of the drug.

“Everybody in the industry is pleasantly surprised that Jeff Sessions is now gone,” said John Laub, president of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association.

Sessions had built a reputation as an obstacle to the marijuana industry, starting before his appointment.

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions, then a U.S. senator from Alabama, said at an April 2016 Senate hearing.

In January, Sessions changed a U.S. Department of Justice rule issued by the Obama administration that said the federal government wouldn’t challenge states that legalize recreational marijuana. Sessions instead directed U.S. attorneys to enforce federal marijuana laws.

The move worried Nevada politicians of both parties that the federal government may challenge states’ rights.

It provoked fear in the local marijuana industry of a federal crackdown on cannabis sellers and growers.

No such crackdown ever came, but Sessions’ presence was enough.

“We know his mere presence as AG scared off some investors, ancillary businesses and others,” said Kevin Sabet, president of anti-marijuana legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Some Southern Nevada stakeholders are optimistic the next attorney general will have a more positive attitude on marijuana than Sessions.

“It’s unlikely that President Trump’s new attorney general will spread reefer madness and misinformation to the same extent that Mr. Sessions has,” said Madisen Saglibene, executive director of the Nevada branch for the pro-marijuana National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Sessions’ forced resignation came one day after medical marijuana ballot measures passed in Utah and Missouri.

Michigan voters also approved a ballot measure for recreational marijuana sales.

The results show more Americans have accepted marijuana, Saglibene said.

Sabet, meanwhile, said election results actually prove that the plant remains divisive nationwide.

North Dakota voters defeated a marijuana legalization ballot measure. And while Missouri legalized medical marijuana, voters in the state defeated other pro-marijuana ballot measures, Sabet said.

One of those measures would have let doctors recommend medical marijuana for certain conditions. The other would have taxed medical marijuana sales at 2 percent instead of 4 percent.

“Marijuana was illegal before Jeff Sessions, during Jeff Sessions, and will be after Jeff Sessions,” Sabet said. “There is a very long and uncertain road to legalization nationally.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nellis airman killed in US 95 rollover crash near Nye County

Four Nellis Air Force airmen were seriously injured and one died after a rollover crash early Wednesday on U.S. Highway 95 near Lee Canyon Road.

10 firearms stolen from Pahrump home

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on the theft of multiple firearms from a local home.

Pahrump’s Mountain Falls gets thumbs up for 52 more homes

After delaying a request for approval for a tentative subdivision map for Mountain Falls, the Nye County Commission readdressed the item at its July 16 meeting, eventually giving the tentative map the green light with a 4-1 vote.

Helping hands turn Pahrump house into home

The Pahrump Valley Rotary Club is an organization dedicated to community service, touting the slogan, “service above self” and it is always actively seeking ways to help the community it calls home.

Pahrump nonprofit enhancing its space through grant

A Pahrump nonprofit that focuses on addiction rehabilitation services has gotten a boost from the Home Depot Foundation.

Nye County District Attorney’s Report

Editor’s note: The Nye County District Attorney’s Report is provided by the office of DA Chris Arabia. Plans call for it to be provided on a monthly basis as the information becomes available. Duplicate names represent separate cases. See pvtimes.com for a look at recent DA reports.

Celebration set for brownfields project in Nye County

The community is invited to attend a celebration marking the first successful brownfield cleanup completed by the Nevada Rural Brownfields Partnership utilizing the revolving loan fund, the Rural Desert Southwest Brownfields Coalition announced.

Fatal crash west of Tonopah area

The Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash that involved three vehicles, west of Tonopah.