News - August 24, 2018 - by Ray Hagar
By Ray Hagar
As Nevada enters its second year with legal, recreational marijuana, State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, predicts that the business will boom.
One of the signs of a bright future for the marijuana business in Nevada will be the opening of the Planet 13 marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas.
It is expected to be the biggest dispensary in the world, Segerblom said. It is billed as a "cannabis entertainment complex" and with full build-out, it will encompass 112,000 square feet, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The complex will have at least 45 registers, 13 15-foot-tall lotus flowers on the roof and a spherical fountain in front.
"It will be the world's largest dispensary by far, plus a warehouse that is bigger than an aircraft hanger," Segerblom said. "It is supposed to open on Nov. 1 and it is going to totally blow us away."
Once it is built, "Nevada will then be the leader of the world, as far as marijuana goes," Segerblom said.
People are also considering a Las Vegas marijuana tour bus, Segerblom said.
"They have these buses in Denver where there is some kind of wall between the driver and the people in the back so the people in the back can use (marijuana) while they are driving around," he said. "We could have these tours all around Vegas.
"Everybody sees Las Vegas as a great place to try these ideas out in and that is so much fun," said Segerblom, who was instrumental in getting the legal framework passed at the Nevada Legislature to begin a retail marijuana business.
The growth of the marijuana culture in Las Vegas won't stop there, said Segerblom, currently a candidate for the Clark County Commission.
Las Vegas may soon have pot lounges and at least one marijuana-themed hotel, he said.
"There is a hotel right across the street from the (Las Vegas) convention center and they want to make it a marijuana-friendly hotel because these people from California that come here for tech conventions, they all smoke dope," Segerblom said.
"There's restaurants, there is a City of Las Vegas non-profit where they would like to have a pot lounge where they would be able to sell food and liquor, so you have a way to make money," Segerblom said. "Because the problem with just having the lounge itself is, who is going to have their own marijuana and then pay $10 just to sit and smoke with other people?"
Las Vegas Metro police are also mellowing out about marijuana, Segerblom said.
"They have also been told that if you stop a car and smell marijuana, that is not probable cause (for arrest)," said Segerblom, a lawyer by profession. "It used to be (enough for probable cause). You could bring them (people in car) out and search their car and find a joint or a roach or something and throw them in jail.
"But the smell of marijuana is no longer probable cause and that is a huge change," he said.
There's the political side to the marijuana industry, too, Segerblom said. Democrats are trying to take advantage of it.
"All the major Democratic candidates running for President have all signed off on some kind of legalization or decriminalization at the federal level, which is what we need," he said.
"Everybody sees that this is a big issue," Segerblom said. "The public supports it. And it probably means a couple of points in an election. If you are for it like (Democratic U.S. Senate candidate) Jacky Rosen, or against it like (GOP Sen. Dean) Heller, it could be the difference right there in that race."
Yet Year 2 of legal marijuana in Nevada will not be all wine and roses, Segerblom said.
Banks are still not able to do business with Nevada's marijuana retailers since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Also, marijuana producers and retailers pay hefty taxes because Section 280E of the Federal Income Tax Code prevents cannabis producers, processors and retailers from deducting expenses from their income.
"We just need the protection (of the federal government) so we can have (business with) banks and get rid of this 280E, which is the big tax problem because their (cannabis producers, processors and retailers) federal taxes are incredible. But banking is the No. 1 problem and that is what we have to address."