A bipartisan delegation of Nevada lawmakers visited their counterparts in Colorado over the weekend, talking pot policy and touring businesses to see the recreational marijuana industry in action.
Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom said the trip to the Denver area on Friday and Saturday, which included a stop at Colorado’s largest marijuana dispensary, was a positive experience for the group and a reminder that Nevada needed to get moving on similar regulation. “I think the people who went were impressed,” Segerblom said.
The trip comes less than two years before voters will decide whether Nevada should join four other states and the District of Columbia to legalize recreational marijuana.
“Colorado is sort of the poster child for marijuana laws and marijuana legalization. But they’ve had some hiccups,” said Will Adler, executive director of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Association. “If someone else has already made those mistakes, why wouldn’t we learn from them now and do proper policy ahead of those disasters?”
Nevada has allowed for medical marijuana for years, but it only authorized dispensaries in 2013, after a group of lawmakers took a similar fact-finding trip to Arizona. Dispensaries and cultivation businesses are still in the process of setting up and are expected to start opening this summer, Adler said.
Republican Sen. Patricia Farley, who helped organize the trip, said her goal was to gather information that could shape two bills moving through the Legislature that deal with Nevada’s medical marijuana industry. “It’s actually looking at current laws and current structure and going back and fixing some of the legislation that has really prevented businesses from getting up off the ground,” Farley said.
The marijuana industry, as well as banking and other auxiliary industries that grow with it, could help diversify the state’s economy, she said.
“We’ve got gaming and alcohol. We might as well have pot,” Farley said. “It’s turning out to be, potentially, a very good emerging market for us.”