The Cannabis Compliance Board
By Jennifer Roberts, Esq.
At the time of this writing, Governor Steve Sisolak has appointed three of five members of the Cannabis Compliance Board (“Board”). The Board was created pursuant to NRS 678A.360 created during the 2019 legislative session. The law was prompted by one of the first initiatives Governor Sisolak undertook in his administration. Twenty days after taking office, Governor Sisolak created the Advisory Panel for Creation of a Cannabis Compliance Board.
The purpose for the Advisory Panel was to provide guidance and recommendations for creating the law that established the Board and the mechanisms to oversee and regulate the existing medical and recreational cannabis industries. Although cannabis regulation already rested within the Department of Taxation, the Governor wanted to model the new Board after another Nevada state agency that was housed within the Department of Taxation at one time–the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
When Nevada first legalized gambling in 1931, tax and regulation of the industry was conducted by local sheriff’s departments. In order to capture some of the revenue from gambling, the Nevada Tax Commission was given state regulatory responsibility over the gambling industry. Seeing a need to combat organized crime, especially under threat by the federal government of the FBI raiding Nevada casinos, the Nevada Gaming Control Board was established as an arm of the Nevada Tax Commission. Four years later, the Nevada Gaming Commission was established and the Gaming Control Board became a companion agency to the Gaming Commission to provide robust regulation of an industry with a notorious history.
To follow a similar trajectory and have an agency dedicated to vigorous regulation of a growing industry in Nevada, the Cannabis Compliance Board is tasked to conduct thorough reviews of those seeking a license to operate in the industry, to conduct audits that ensure that industry members are properly paying taxes to the state, and to perform enforcement activities that could result in discipline against licensees who are not abiding by regulation.
While the Cannabis Compliance Board is a new agency, there is existing precedent for how a privileged industry can be properly regulated in Nevada.
About the author:
Jennifer Roberts, Esq. is currently in Nashville helping set up sports gaming regulation in the State of Tennessee. She continues to maintain her own boutique law firm, Roberts Gaming Law, Ltd. Her legal practice focuses on federal, state, and local liquor laws; land use and zoning; business licensing and compliance; and regulatory and administrative law. She served as a member of the Advisory Panel for Creation of a Cannabis Compliance Board.
This article was originally published in the “Cannabis Law” issue (May 2020) of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association.
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