Guy Farmer: Cannabis Board vs. Gaming Control Board: No comparison – Nevada Appeal

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal
Nevada Appeal | Nevada Appeal

As a former spokesman for Nevada’s effective and respected gaming control agencies, I cringe every time Gov. Steve Sisolak compares his proposed Cannabis Board to the powerful Gaming Control Board, which has kept our state’s legal gambling industry clean for 60 years. And the Cannabis Board? Keep an eye on those guys.

According to the Associated Press, Sisolak “wants to create a Cannabis Compliance Board similar to the state commission that controls casino licensing.” Well Governor, that’s not going to happen because the marijuana industry, aka “Big Marijuana,” wrote the law your Cannabis Board would be charged with enforcing. Oh by the way, Big Marijuana donated big bucks to your gubernatorial campaign last year, so you’re not likely to bite the hand that feeds you.

The Cannabis Board is in the news because two Las Vegas businesses that were denied licenses to distribute so-called “recreational” marijuana have filed a lawsuit against the state Taxation Department claiming the department hired a temporary employment service to screen license applications. The AP reported that an attorney representing the rejected pot pushers claims it was a “gross disparity” when the Tax Department awarded 32 of 61 provisional licenses to only four entities last December.

Who owns these “entities?” Under pressure from the Nevada Press Association, Sisolak recently signed SB32, which makes public the names of owners, officers or board members of any company that applies for a state-issued marijuana business license. Those names are now public on the Tax Department’s website, and that’s a step in the right direction.

Some history: Former Tax Department Director Deonne Contine fast-tracked the commercialization of recreational marijuana in just six months in 2017 despite a lack of transparency and a woefully inadequate state licensing and enforcement structure with only four employees at

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