Marijuana advertisements might be banned from Las Vegas airport


LEILA NAVIDI / LAS VEGAS SUN FILE

Taxicabs line up in the staging area waiting for passengers at McCarran International Airport.

Taxis bearing marijuana advertisements could be banned from carrying passengers to and from McCarran International Airport, if ambiguous wording in a proposed ordinance isn’t clarified — or if certain county commissioners get their way.

The Clark County Commission, which oversees McCarran as well as the region’s smaller, noncommercial airports, held a public hearing Tuesday for a proposed ordinance that would make the possession and advertisement of marijuana illegal on all airport-owned properties. According to Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis, the intent of the ordinance is to keep the airport in compliance with federal regulations by controlling “the airport environment,” but “not the transient vehicles that come through the airport.”

But county lawyers say the wording of the ordinance does not offer clarifications or exceptions to the ban, meaning it could be applied to the taxis and mobile billboards that drive onto airport property, or even to a local dispensary owner whose car is wrapped to promote the business.

Vassiliadis told the commissioners that was contrary to intent and that her staff could work with the legal department to craft clearer wording. But several commissioners liked the sound of the harsher interpretation.

The board’s most outspoken official against recreational marijuana, Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, added: “I don’t want it anywhere.”

“I’d prefer to see us go to the limit,” said Commissioner Larry Brown. “Ban everything related to recreational and medical marijuana. Once (the industries) have a track record, we can adjust.”

Vassiliadis said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce a ban that wide-ranging.

“(The ordinance) has to be realistic,” she said, adding that advertisements on taxis are already regulated by other authorities.

Vassiliadis said staff modeled the proposed ordinance on existing policies at Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport, which have dealt with these very issues for the past five years.

The commissioners ultimately decided to hold the item for 30 days to clarify the ambiguous wording and to gain additional input from the Green Ribbon Advisory Panel, the Nevada Taxicab Authority and other relevant parties. No representatives from the taxi or marijuana industries were present on Tuesday, presumably because the ordinance had been explained to them earlier with the intent presented by Vassiliadis rather than the interpretation by the county attorneys.

Commissioner Jim Gibson stressed the need to be thorough with the ordinance in order to protect McCarran as a valuable resource to Southern Nevada.

“We need to be practical,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the level of support for the (marijuana) industry.”

Marijuana is considered a Schedule I (read: worst of the worst) drug by the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal entities. That creates inherent conflict with airports located in states where marijuana has been partially or fully legalized. To qualify for federal grants, airports must comply with being a “drug-free workplace.”

Rather than test the boundaries and possibly lose necessary funding, most airports around the country have opted to enact restrictions on marijuana to keep their reputations intact.

“They don’t want to create an atmosphere that suggests they’re pushing people toward it,” said David Bannard, a partner at Foley & Lardner in Boston who sits on a board of Airports Council International. “Airports may (already) limit hard alcohol; they may limit political advertisements. This is just an extension of that.”

Bannard adds that public perception of marijuana is still a driving factor.

“It continues to be an issue that people are uncomfortable about,” he said. “People (in the aviation industry) talk about damage that’s not physical but reputational. Airports really work hard to maintain their good image. Airports in this country are so safe and so well run. Even when (marijuana) is legal to possess, given a choice, it makes more sense to preserve that perception.”

Bannard predicts that marijuana will eventually be regulated in similar ways as tobacco: Individual states have varying laws on taxation and age limits, but the FAA doesn’t regulate the movement of it across state lines via airspace. As more and more states move toward marijuana legalization in some form, a legal case could test the boundaries of what the FAA is allowed to regulate.

However, until some sort of critical mass is reached, expect more caution from airports. The prevailing attitude could be summed up by Vassiliadis’ response when asked by Chairman Steve Sisolak if the FAA cared about taxi advertisements at the airport: “It has not been tested. We don’t want to be the test case.”

Editor’s note: Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Cannabis Dispensary.



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Crime at Blackjack Collective Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Las Vegas



Around 4 a.m. on July 29th, three men armed with crowbars broke into Blackjack Collective Medical Marijuana Dispensary, while one waited in a red sedan. One man was arrested near the dispensary, while two were arrested near Interstate 15 and West Sahara Avenue.
The fourth was caught at a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas, where the stolen property was recovered. Officer Lazar Siroyan fired one round from a personal shotgun at one of the men, but missed. Nobody was injured. Officer Siroyan has been placed on administrative leave as the Las Vegas Metro Police Department investigates the incident. Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Booker pushes to legalize marijuana across the nation


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker says marijuana should be legal in America. 

The New Jersey Democrat on Tuesday introduced legislation that would legalize pot at the federal level, reversing decades of national policy.

Booker (D-N.J.) said current drug laws disproportionately hurt minority communities. His action comes as states have begun to legalize the drug.

“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Booker said.

“They don’t make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year.”

Booker says minorities hurt

His Marijuana Justice Act also would provide federal incentives to states to change their marijuana laws if they were shown to disproportionately hurt low-income individuals or people of color.

In addition, people already convicted of marijuana-related crimes could have their sentences reviewed by a judge.

“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system,” Booker said.

“States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”

Booker said more than half of all drug arrests involve marijuana, and blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites. even though marijuana use is the same.

More people have been arrested for possession of marijuana possession than for than for armed robbery, murder and sexual assault combined, he said.

Unlike his earlier efforts to overhaul federal criminal justice laws, Booker’s measure was introduced without a Republican sponsor in a chamber controlled by the opposite party — and thus has little chance of passing. 

Nearly two a dozen states, including New Jersey, have legalized medical marijuana. In addition, voters have approved recreational marijuana in Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington, Washington D.C., Colorado, Nevada and Oregon.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has opposed legalizing recreational marijuana, but state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has introduced legislation to do so.

Currently, marijuana is only legal for medical treatment of a tightly regulated group of ailments and sold at just a handful of dispensaries around the state. 

Christie, a former federal prosecutor who has resisted any effort to decriminalize the drug in New Jersey, has called Scutari’s plan “stupid.”

President Donald Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have talked about stepping up enforcement of drug laws rather than considering alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. 

In March 2015, Booker introduced legislation to prevent the federal government from enforcing marijuana laws in the states that have approved the use of the drug for medicinal purposes. 

The legislation would have reclassified marijuana, which is now considered under federal law to be a dangerous drug with no medicinal value. The bill would make it easier for researchers to study its medicinal value.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook. 



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Snapchat Spectacles vending machine hits Las Vegas



Snapbot, the vending machine/kiosk for Snapchat Spectacles, arrived at The Linq Promenade Tuesday morning. Elaine Wilson/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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NuLeaf begins recreational cannabis sales in Incline on Saturday


Incline Village – NuLeaf Tahoe will open its doors Saturday as the first and only recreational cannabis dispensary in Lake Tahoe. To celebrate, NuLeaf Tahoe is hosting a party on Saturday, Aug. 5 starting at 11 a.m. at its Incline Village location.

The entire Lake Tahoe, northern Nevada and northern California community is invited to join various dignitaries and VIPs. To learn more, stop by the store at 877 Tahoe Boulevard or visit http://www.nuleaftahoe.com.

Having opened medical marijuana dispensaries in Las Vegas and Incline Village last year, NuLeaf is the only Nevada state-approved medical cannabis provider in Lake Tahoe. It is now expanding its role in Incline Village as the first and only recreational marijuana dispensary. While the cannabis industry is fairly new to the Silver State, the staff at NuLeaf has served various communities for more than 15 years.

“Some of our partners grew up in Nevada and thought there was an underserved population when it came to medical cannabis,” Sean Luse, NuLeaf’s chief operating officer said in a press release. “We knew we had to expand to northern Nevada, and now we are able to serve the community both in Incline Village, and around Lake Tahoe.”

The first 50 people in line at the celebration will receive commemorative T-shirts and the first 50 customers will receive pre-rolls for just a penny with each purchase. There will be live music and several community leaders in attendance. Community members and customers 21 years old and older are invited to the celebration and to start lining up at 10 a.m. and doors will open with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony with Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung at 11 a.m. The historic first purchase at NuLeaf Incline Village will take place immediately after. Starting Sunday, store hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. NuLeaf Tahoe is located at 877 Tahoe Boulevard. For more information visit http://www.nuleaftahoe.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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