Friday, June 2, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Native American tribal governments in Nevada will now be able to negotiate directly with the governor’s office on marijuana, thanks to legislation passed Friday.
Senate Bill 375, which opens the door for legal negotiations on the use and sale of medical marijuana on tribal lands, also allows the governor’s office to bypass federal laws that limit commerce talks between tribes and Congress.
“The voters have spoken on marijuana and they’ve adopted this,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said just minutes before signing the bill. “It’s important that the Native American people can participate in this and for the state to work with all of you.”
Sandoval also touted the economic benefits of the bill to the tribes, calling SB375 “developing and enabling.”
Present at the bill signing, in the second floor of the Capitol Building, were nearly a dozen members of the Nevada Tribal Cannabis Alliance — which includes 14 tribes across the state, including the Las Vegas and Moapa Paiute tribes. All 27 federally recognized tribes in the state, which include an estimated 40,000 Native Americans, are eligible for negotiation under the terms of the new law.
Standing with her fingers interlocked in front of her, a smiling Yerington Paiute Chairwoman Laurie Thom thanked Sandoval and state Sen. Tick Segerblom for “supporting the tribes and listening to our needs.”
“This is key to the economic development of our tribes and also brings needed medicine to the reservation,” Thom said.
Sandoval also announced the passing of Senate Bill 396 on Friday, a bill to increase funds and permission for low-THC hemp research to extend beyond Nevada universities and select marijuana growers in the state.
According to the new law, hemp, which is made of seeds and stems of marijuana plants, could not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. Less than 20 producers statewide currently grow hemp, according to the Nevada Department of Agriculture. A department spokesman did not say how many additional hemp growers would be added under the new law.
The passing of SB375 and SB396 were the third and fourth marijuana-related bills signed into law by Sandoval this session. Sandoval also vetoed two weed bills — one to establish state apprenticeships for marijuana and the other to include opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for a state medical marijuana card — earlier this week. As many as four weed bills, covering such issues as the price of medical marijuana cards to the size and shape of edibles for sale in the new recreational marijuana industry, are still outstanding in the Legislature.