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Gaming Commission approves licensing for James ‘Jay’ Barrett

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved several licensings, including one for for James “Jay” Barrett as a director and audit committee chairman for Rancho Mesquite Casino Co., which operates the Eureka Casino in Mesquite and Eureka Las Vegas.

Commissioners said they were comfortable with Barrett’s licensing despite questions that arose at May 3’s Gaming Control Board meeting.

Barrett discovered two days before that hearing that regulators were concerned with his role as a consultant to a medical marijuana distributor.

Barrett, a co-founder of the Rio who also has served as a Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce officer, explained that he made recommendations to the distributor on financial matters and had nothing to do with the manufacturing and distribution of products.

The Control Board has taken a strict approach toward medical and recreational marijuana.

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal by Nevada law and policymakers are in the process of enabling distribution for recreational use. But the federal government still considers possession and use illegal.

Because of that federal stance, the Control Board has developed policy to keep gaming and marijuana use and production separate.

When Barrett learned earlier this month that his association with the company was problematic for the licensing, he immediately severed that relationship.

Commissioners said Barrett’s clean track record and his decision to sever ties with the marijuana distributor led to the decision to approve the licensing.

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