Nevada Cannabis Licenses are Being Federally Investigated

Nevada industry players have been getting interviewed by the FBI over the cannabis licensing process. 

The investigation is to see if any people or businesses tried to bribe politicians or other government officials in any way to obtain licenses to operate. Since 2016, recreational cannabis has been legal in Nevada, and there has been controversy over the process the entire time. Applicants who didn’t get licenses have brought corruption charges against those who are in business, and there has been discussion about the cannabis companies associated with politicians and business leaders, and whether they obtained their licenses ethically. 

So far, the state has given out more than 750 licenses for all parts of the industry. A total of 335 of those are dual licenses for medical and recreational providers. 

“My gut told me, and our Spidey sense is telling us, there is a lot of ‘pay to play,’” Chad Christensen, a former legislator and co-owner of Pisos Dispensary in Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review Journal. He is one of the concerned individuals who came forth and chatted with the FBI. At least two other anonymous sources have been interviewed as well. 

On February 18, 2020, the investigation became official, as Nevada’s attorney general was notified about the investigation. 

“I don’t comment on investigations and am not authorized to do that,” FBI agent Matt Edwards said when questioned by the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I’m not going to have any conversation about FBI investigations.”

“It’s all about public trust and confidence,” said Tyler Klimas of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board. “As regulators of the state’s cannabis industry, it’s imperative that we work with our federal partners to ensure that trust and confidence extends outside of our borders and prevents any actions that could damage the state’s reputation or harm the industry.”

Further controversy following the original scandal surfaced in 2018 when 64 new licenses became available. The Nevada Department of Taxation allegedly received more than 460 applications total from 127 different groups and people who were interested in getting involved in the industry. However, only 17 of those applicants received all 64 of those licenses. This brought about an even bigger lawsuit that was called “World War Weed” by some industry insiders. It has now been elevated to the Nevada Supreme Court. 

In 2019, to try and get some of the controversy to die down, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board was established to potentially take over the licensing process in the future from the  Gaming Control Board, who had previously been in control. The  idea behind this move was to try and eliminate further controversy and show that new, unbiased people were being put in charge. The board was responsible for issuing permits for consumption lounges as well, and the hope was to make licenses for growers, manufacturers, and retail businesses more available and accessible. 

However, they were not successful in mitigating controversy, as FBI agents began their investigation in 2020. They interviewed a source as recently as this past April about the “pay to play” nature of cannabis in Nevada. 

“They were interested in talking about all licensing issues from a year ago plus,” the anonymous source said regarding the allegation and the investigation, when asked by the Las Vegas Review Journal what the nature of the investigation was. 

According to sources, the FBI didn’t ask about politicians, but asked a lot of questions about the former taxation department deputy director Jorge Pupo, who was put on leave in 2019 and seems to be a person of interest when it comes to the FBI investigation. 

Currently, the FBI is being silent about the investigation and when it may come to an end, but one thing is clear—they are taking these claims of corruption very seriously.

The post Nevada Cannabis Licenses are Being Federally Investigated appeared first on High Times.

Consumption Lounges on the Horizon for Nevada

By the middle of next year, Nevada is poised to offer a new type of venue to get high.

State lawmakers on Wednesday approved funding for the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board to oversee so-called “cannabis consumption lounges” there.

Members of the Interim Finance Committee “unanimously approved three items that will provide the [Cannabis Compliance Board] with funds to hire more staff, work with the state attorney general’s office to hammer out regulations, and direct cannabis revenue toward education funding,” according to the Nevada Independent.

The Independent reported that the committee “would direct $10.9 million to fund 23 new full-time employees at the regulatory agency,” which “would include positions responsible for cannabis lounge licensing, pre-opening and ongoing compliance checks, background checks, lounge suitability determinations and criminal investigations.”

Tyler Klimas, the executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board, told the committee on Wednesday that the additional funding places the new businesses on track to open their doors early next year.

“All goes as planned, we’re looking at—at least the first quarter, or the first half of 2022,” Klimas said, as quoted by the Nevada Independent. “Not only to see the lounges open, but then also the first part is where we would start to realize that revenue.”

The new type of businesses were put in motion last month after Nevada legislators passed a bill aimed at diversifying the state’s still-nascent recreational marijuana industry.

The legislation also included provisions for the cannabis consumption lounges: to provide “for the licensure and regulation by the Cannabis Compliance Board of cannabis consumption lounges”; to set “forth certain requirements for the licensure of cannabis consumption lounges”; and to set “forth certain requirements for the operation of retail cannabis consumption lounges and independent cannabis consumption lounges.”

Consumption Lounges Won’t Be the Only Positive Change for the Industry

The bill also requires the Cannabis Compliance Board to “adopt regulations establishing criteria to determine whether an applicant for the issuance or renewal of an adult-use cannabis establishment license for an independent cannabis consumption lounge qualifies as a social equity applicant,” defined as “an applicant that has been adversely affected by previous laws that criminalized activity relating to cannabis.”

Moreover, the bill “authorizes the Board to reduce certain fees associated with an adult-use cannabis establishment license for an independent cannabis consumption lounge for social equity applicants,” and “requires that at least 10 of the first 20 adult-use cannabis establishment licenses for an independent cannabis consumption lounge issued by the Board be issued to social equity applicants.”

A report issued by the Cannabis Compliance Board earlier this year found that the state’s marijuana industry lacked diversity, with around 65 percent of owners and managers identifying as white.

Steve Yeager, a Democratic assemblyman from Las Vegas, sponsored the legislation, which he hailed as a boon for the state’s recreational pot industry.

“It’s been a long journey from where we started, really, in the 2013 session and then launching dispensaries, so it’s really nice to see how the industry has matured,” said Yeager, as quoted by the Nevada Independent. “The legislation that we see this session is really in recognition that we’ve primarily done things right and to try to take that next step.”

The bill also provides funding from the cannabis sales to the state’s K-12 education. Yeager said Wednesday that Nevada’s marijuana business is “going to be an industry that is going to pay for itself, and then hopefully be able to fund education in a way that I think we’d all like to do here in the Legislature.”

Recreational marijuana was officially made legal in Nevada in 2017, after voters there passed a ballot measure the year before. According to CannaCon, Nevada is now one of seven states to have legislation on the books permitting cannabis lounges.

The post Consumption Lounges on the Horizon for Nevada appeared first on High Times.

Nevada Gives Green Light to Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Cannabis consumption lounges will be coming to Nevada next year under a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak earlier this month. The measure, Assembly Bill 341 (AB341), was signed by Sisolak on June 4 after being passed by lawmakers in both houses of the state legislature in May. Currently, onsite cannabis consumption is only allowed at the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on Las Vegas Paiute tribal land north of downtown.

The legislation permits two types of cannabis businesses. Retail cannabis lounges will be operated by licensed marijuana dispensaries, while independent cannabis consumption lounges will not be connected to a retailer. Both types of businesses will sell ready-to-use or single-use cannabis products for onsite consumption by adults 21 and older. Live entertainment is permitted, but alcohol will not be allowed.

“You can think of it like a bar, except obviously there will be no alcohol,” Assemblyman Steve Yeager, the sponsor of the legislation, said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing, as quoted by Forbes. “It could be a joint, an edible, it could be an infused food or infused soda, whatever the concept might be.”

Yeager added that more original concepts would also likely arise, noting that ideas such as fine dining restaurants serving cannabis-infused dishes, cannabis-friendly yoga classes, and comedy clubs offering marijuana products could all become reality. 

“Whatever you could think of could be possible,” Yeager said.

Ben Kovler, the CEO and founder of multistate cannabis operator Green Thumb Industries, said that the company is planning a lounge for the dispensary opened on the Las Vegas Strip by GTI in May under a licensing deal with the founders of the brand Cookies, rapper Berner and his cultivation collaborator Jai.

“When people come to Vegas for a bachelor party, a wedding, or just to see friends they haven’t seen in 15 months, they’re going to want to get together and consume cannabis and pretty soon there will be consumption lounges and they’re going to want to come to Cookies,” Kovler said. “What better place than Las Vegas? It’s an experience city in the middle of the desert.”

Consumption Lounges And Social Equity

Nevada’s foray into cannabis consumption lounges will bring a measure of equity to the state’s efforts at marijuana policy reform. Before AB341, cannabis consumption was legal under state law only in private residences with the owner’s permission, leaving renters and visitors open to the disparate enforcement of drug laws that has been repeatedly documented. Consuming cannabis in hotels and casinos is not allowed.

“Consumption lounges are important because they help protect people from prejudicial law enforcement or being fined or sanctioned in a way that causes real harm, that perpetuates the War on Drugs,” cannabis and social equity advocate and Las Vegas resident Noel Gordon told Filter.

The legislation also has social equity provisions built into the licensing regulations for cannabis consumption lounges. Nevada’s legalization initiative, passed in 2016, is lacking in robust equity measures. Such oversights are likely to doom or delay legalization proposals today, a fact seen in recent and eventually successful reform efforts in New Jersey and New York.

Qualified social equity applicants who wish to open a cannabis consumption lounge will receive up to a 75% reduction in application fees, which can cost as much as $30,000. Under the bill, a social equity applicant is a person “who has been adversely affected by provisions of previous laws which criminalized activity relating to cannabis, including, without limitation, adverse effects on an owner, officer or board member of the applicant or on the geographic area in which the applicant will operate,” according to the legislation.

Additionally, the number of independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses will initially be capped at 20, with half reserved for social equity applicants. But despite the efforts, Gordon is uncertain the social equity provisions will work as intended.

“I’m not all that optimistic we will still deliver on the social equity pieces,” Gordon said. “We still live in a prohibition lite version of legalization here in Nevada whereby you can purchase and consume cannabis in your home, but short of that, if you were to consume it on the sidewalk, in a hotel room, at a friend’s place, you will still be subject to some kind of criminal penalty or sanction.”

AB341 goes into effect in October, and state regulators are expected to begin accepting applications for cannabis lounges in July. But with regulations still being drafted, it is likely to be next year before the first consumption clubs open.

“The Cannabis Compliance Board is continuing to review the bill and its requirements in establishing consumption lounge licenses in Nevada,” said Tiana Bohner, public information officer for the agency. “The Board will aim to promulgate regulations and begin issuing licenses by early 2022.”

Bob Groesbeck, the co-CEO for Planet 13, a 112,000-square-foot Las Vegas dispensary billed as the world’s largest, said that his company has been planning a cannabis lounge for the site since AB341 was introduced two years ago.

“Our SuperStore is one of the only dispensaries with the space on site and the proximity to the Las Vegas Strip to create a truly Vegas style club,” Groesbeck said in a statement from Planet 13. “As with the rest of our dispensary we look forward to setting the bar and showing the industry what is possible when your goal is to Out Vegas, Vegas.”

The post Nevada Gives Green Light to Cannabis Consumption Lounges appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Rolling Stone and Curaleaf Partner On New ‘Rolling Stone by Select’ Cannabis Brand

International cannabis powerhouse Curaleaf announced on Tuesday that its Select brand will market co-branded cannabis products under a new strategic partnership with pop culture and music authority Rolling Stone. The deal will initially bring “Rolling Stone by Select” branded vaporizer products and pre-rolled joints to Nevada, with plans to expand to other regulated cannabis markets in the future.

Rolling Stone and Select are creating a groundbreaking partnership that will showcase our next generation hardware [and] America’s best-selling premium cannabis oil while curating an exclusive relationship between music, cannabis and culture,” Select founder and president Cameron Forni wrote in an electronic message to Cannabis Now.

The new line of Rolling Stone by Select products will include Select’s newest proprietary cannabis oil vaporizer pod system, The Cliq, as well as Select’s first ever pre-rolled joint. Both product formats will feature three different “strains and flavor profiles hand-selected by Rolling Stone to celebrate some of the most well-known and genre-defining artists and sounds in music history,” Curaleaf wrote in a press release. The line includes Overdrive, berry-forward sativa; a complex and full-bodied indica known as Reverb; and a fruity, calming hybrid marketed under the moniker Phaser. The products will be distributed through Select’s wholesale partners and at Curaleaf dispensaries, including Acres by Curaleaf and Curaleaf Las Vegas Boulevard.

Rolling Stone by Select Cliq Vaporizer

“Music and Cannabis go hand in hand,” said Rolling Stone president and chief operating officer Gus Wenner, noting that the company has a legacy of celebrating this connection and a history of covering cannabis policy reform efforts.

“We are thrilled to have found a perfect partner in Curaleaf who gives us the opportunity to design a product that elevates the music listening experience and celebrates the deep connection between the two.” 

Music Icon Teams with Cannabis Powerhouse

Curaleaf and Select made headlines in 2019 when they joined forces in what was at the time the cannabis industry’s largest merger deal in history. Today, Curaleaf operates in 23 states with 106 cannabis dispensaries, 23 cultivation sites, and more than 30 processing sites, with a workforce of nearly 5,000 in the United States. Curaleaf International is the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in Europe, conducting pioneering scientific research integrated with a unique supply chain including cultivation, extraction and production, as well as a distribution network across the European market. 

“Part of my job at Curaleaf is building brands people love. Select is a brand built around the relentless pursuit of progress and going to great lengths to create the best possible experience for our consumer,” Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern said in a statement from the company. “This is a synergy we are honored to share with Rolling Stone. They are known for having one of the most authentic and discerning voices in modern journalism, and, as part of that, they’ve included cannabis in their coverage for the past 50 years – something many other publications are only just starting to do today. We’re honored and thrilled that the Rolling Stone team believes in our vision, our products and our people to create and deliver the highest-quality cannabis products and experiences in the industry.”

Putting Social Equity into Practice

Bayern told Cannabis Now in an email that Rolling Stone and Curaleaf have an opportunity to use their combined platforms to advance social equity issues including reducing mass incarceration and ensuring that all entrepreneurs, especially those belonging to communities adversely affected by the War on Drugs, have an opportunity to participate in the legal cannabis economy.

“Since our inception, Curaleaf has been dedicated to putting its best foot forward for each other, our customers and our communities. We truly believe in shaping a healthy, inclusive, well-regulated cannabis industry that provides for social, financial and environmental benefits shared by all,” Bayern said. “Throughout Curaleaf’s network and supply chain, we’re constantly looking for ways to support equal access and opportunity for communities impacted by the War on Drugs so that everyone has the chance to participate in the regulated cannabis industry.”

Bayern noted that Curaleaf’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, called “Rooted in Good,” is grounded on three core pillars: social equity; sustainability; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Through the program, Curaleaf strives to deliver social impact through focused efforts that match the company’s capabilities and prioritize resources for social equity programming that deliver real opportunities.

“As a part of that work, we engage in strategic partnerships activating programs that foster opportunity and remove systematic barriers for communities most harmed by the War on Drugs and cannabis criminalization,” Bayern said. “Regarding our partnership with Rolling Stone, we are excited to explore conversations with their CSR team around future endeavors to further advance cannabis social equity issues and bring about change in a positive way.”

Curaleaf also revealed that the partnership would launch a new retail concept inspired by “Select’s commitment to enriching communities and creating inclusive, meaningful experiences and Rolling Stone’s world class storytelling and culture-defining content.” The retail location is expected to open in Las Vegas in 2022, with further details to be announced later.

The post Rolling Stone and Curaleaf Partner On New ‘Rolling Stone by Select’ Cannabis Brand appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Tuesday April 6, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Cops Can’t Arrest You For Smoking Marijuana On Sidewalks NYPD Says In Post-Legalization Memo (Marijuana Moment)

// New Mexico Takes First Step On Marijuana Implementation Before Governor Even Signs Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Schumer says the Senate will act on marijuana legalization regardless of Biden’s position (Report Door)


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// Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Key Senate Committee With Floor Vote Expected This Month (Marijuana Moment)

// Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois smash record in March – $109 million (Chicago Tribune)

// Trulieve Buys Keystone Shops In $60 Million Deal (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Planet 13 Q4 Revenue Increases 22% From a Year Ago to $20.1 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Jushi Completes $9 Million Nevada Acquisition ()

// D.C. Is ‘Ready’ To Legalize Marijuana Sales As Soon As Congress Gets Out Of The Way, Mayor Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Is Auctioning Marijuana-Themed License Plates To Raise Money For People With Disabilities (Marijuana Moment)

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// The House passed the MORE Act. Is weed legal now? (Leafly)

// Nebraska advocates aim for a marijuana legalization twofer in 2022 (Leafly)

// N.J. lawmakers reach deal on legal weed bill, plan to vote later this month (NJ.com)


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// GrowGeneration to Raise $125 Million Selling Stock (New Cannabis Ventures)

// U.S. cannabis firm Verano to go public with US$2.8B valuation (BNN Bloomberg)

// Ayr Strategies to Issue $75 Million 4-Year Notes at 12.5% (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Cannabis Sales in 5 Western States Grow in Excess of 30% During October (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Bill To Legalize Marijuana In Mexico Advancing In Committees Ahead Of Final Floor Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// Soda, gummies and Elbow chocolates: KC plant makes Missouri’s first marijuana edibles (Kansas City Star)

// House-Passed Marijuana Legalization Bill Would Add $13.7B To Federal Budget Congressional Analysts Say (Marijuana Moment)


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Tuesday, November 17, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Jersey Senate Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Despite Contentious Psychedelics Provision (Marijuana Moment)

// Rescoring of retail marijuana licenses in Illinois allowed to proceed (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Mexico slowly advances adult-use cannabis law – setting up key vote next week (Marijuana Business Daily)


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// Virginia governor vows to press for adult-use marijuana program (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Rhode Island Will ‘Absolutely’ Consider Legalizing Marijuana In 2021 New House Speaker Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Columbia Care Increases Revenue by 145% Prepares for Strong 2021 (Green Market Report)

// Canadian cannabis firm Pure Sunfarms delivers another profitable quarter (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Vireo Health Raises $5 Million with Pennsylvania Dispensaries Sale (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Wholesale marijuana hemp oil prices fall nationwide amid growing supply of raw material (Marijuana Business Daily)

// America’s longest serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner to be released after 32-year sentence (Independent)


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Thursday, October 8, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, October 8, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Vermont Governor Allows Marijuana Sales Legalization Bill To Take Effect Without His Signature (Marijuana Moment)

// September was another record month for Illinois marijuana sales (WROK News Talk 1440)

// Once shut out, Maine cannabis industry now eligible for sustainable energy grants (Portland Press Herald)


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// Illinois Governor To Pardon More People For Marijuana In The ‘Coming Months’ (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana firm iAnthus gets Canadian court approval for restructuring plan (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New TV Ads Urges Oregon Voters To Legalize Psilocybin Therapy (Marijuana Moment)

// Oklahoma’s Numerous Dispensaries Presents Distribution Challenges For Brands (Green Market Report)

// Arizona Loosens Restrictions On Past Marijuana Use By Police Recruits (Marijuana Moment)

// Asset sales, market growth might boost cannabis multistate operator finances (Marijuana Business Daily)

// MJBizCon 2020 Moves to Fully Online Event December 2-4, 2020 (Stock House)


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Thursday, September 3, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, September 3, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Applications open for two Cannabis Control Commission positions one seat on State Ethics Commission attorney general’s office announces (Mass Live)

// New lawsuit filed over Los Angeles’ marijuana social equity licensing (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Three-In-Five DC Voters Support Psychedelics Decriminalization Initiative New Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)


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// As California Legislative Session Ends Lawmakers Advance Some Marijuana Bills But Stall On CBD (Marijuana Moment)

// Mississippi Medical Marijuana Initiative Has ‘Strong Chance Of Passage’ Poll Shows (Marijuana Moment)

// Finally-stable Montana cannabis market may face upheaval with recreational legalization looming (Marijuana Business Daily)

// July Cannabis Sales Surge in 5 Western States (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Drive Strong Growth in Illinois and Massachusetts in July (New Cannabis Ventures)

// President Jimmy Carter Confirms Son and Willie Nelson Smoked Weed on the White House Roof (Merry Jane)

// Acquisition by cannabis tech platform Akerna spurs layoffs leadership split (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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