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Casino operators advised to avoid medical pot sector

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 5/06/2014 7:39 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV — Nevada’s gaming regulators have notified license holders they cannot be involved in the state’s marijuana business.

In a notice to licensees posted Tuesday on its website, the board stated that because it’s a federal crime to grow, possess or sell marijuana, the state must not allow casino operators to run or hold a financial interest in a medical marijuana business.

The industry advisory states, that unless federal law changes, “the board does not believe investment or any other involvement in a medical marijuana facility or establishment by a person who has received a gaming approval or has applied for a gaming approval is consistent with the effective regulation of gaming.”

Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson sent a memo Tuesday reminding licensees that while the state has legalized dispensaries, federal law still prohibits manufacturing and distributing marijuana.

Johnson says that unless federal law changes, it could discredit the state's gambling industry if a casino licensee gets involved in the medical marijuana business.

It was unclear whether the board would discipline licensees who get involved in both industries. Officials with the Gaming Control Board were not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

M Resort CEO Anthony Marnell has invested in a company that is seeking a Clark County medical marijuana license. An M spokeswoman couldn't immediately comment on the notice.

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