RENO — Laura Simes started getting nervous in July when her new agent card allowing her to legally work in the cannabis industry hadn’t arrived in the mail. It’d been a month since her card expired.
She’d sent in the fees and all the needed information to the Cannabis Compliance Board, a relatively new state regulatory agency that oversees the recreational marijuana industry. Now it’s November and she still doesn’t have her card.
“I think my boss is having the same issue, and he has other friends in the industry that are having the same problem,” Simes told the Reno Gazette Journal.
Simes, who works in a Las Vegas-area cultivation facility, said the agency recently emailed saying she could work without penalty due to the sometimes months-long processing delay. She keeps a printout of the email, complete with a PDF temporary card, in her work locker, just in case.
“I don’t think they know exactly what they’re doing,” Simes said about the Cannabis Compliance Board, which took the reins over from the Department of Taxation in July.
She’s among hundreds in Nevada’s marijuana industry — possibly more, according to the Nevada Current — of employees working with out-of-date agent cards.
Agent cards, which require a background check and fingerprints, grant workers access to areas in marijuana business facilities. The state requires them to track employees and ensure legal practices in an industry that is heavily scrutinized.
Businesses are worried that, despite recent state moves to alleviate the backlog, they’re still going to be penalized. And employees are worried for their jobs in a tumultuous economy.
State officials are trying to conquer the backlog. Most recently, for example, the board extended the expiration dates for permanent agent cards by 90 days and temporary agent cards through Jan. 31.
“I think it’s helpful for all