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Every pot cloud has a silver lining

Not everybody has been happy with Nevada’s medical marijuana process, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken.

That’s according to investment banker Leslie Bocskor, a founding chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association and adviser to five Southern Nevada medical pot permit hopefuls.

Bocskor has provided seed funding and permitting guidance to a dozen pot entrepreneurs looking to navigate land use and business licensing in Nevada and two other states.

He said the Silver State’s two-pronged approach to pot permitting has acquitted itself nicely, especially when stacked up against oft-criticized systems in Colorado and California.

“Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has had problems with the process,” Bocskor said Thursday. “It’s a competitive process. … Every time someone raises a complaint, I’m reminded of the way players in a basketball or a football game complain to referees.”

Bocskor said Nevada’s regulatory framework — one that sees local governments vet applicants for licensing and land use entitlements while state regulators look into their criminal background and business bona fides — has become the gold standard among states looking to join the green rush.

Las Vegas leaders have opted to fast-track the city’s first round of medical pot permit approvals, moving ahead with an up-or-down vote on city pot hopefuls a few days before state regulators are expected to hand down their verdict on those applicants’ business credentials.

Councilman Bob Coffin has voiced serious misgivings over the move, one he fears could provoke lawsuits from state-approved applicants spurned by the city.

Bocskor said he was familiar with those concerns and sympathetic to applicants’ fears that such a move plays into the hands of powerful lobbyists.

But at the end of the day, he said, things could be a lot worse.

“For all of this talk, we have to remember that the state Legislature did a very good job,” Bocskor said. “First Security Bank is the first in the nation to take medical marijuana business accounts. … We’re the only state in the nation to have reciprocity in our (medical marijuana use) legislation.

“The state’s regulatory framework is being heralded as the best in the nation.

In part, I think, because of the experience Nevada has with regulating gaming.”

— James DeHaven

A MEMBER AT LAST

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers learned Friday that the biggest gaming state in the country is not a member of a multi-state legislative organization that meets on a regular basis to discuss issues related to gaming.

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States was founded in 1995, with a mission of educating lawmakers from gaming states on both new and recurring challenges concerning the regulation of gaming.

The organization’s winter meeting will be held Jan. 9 to 11 at the Paris Las Vegas.

In a letter to the Legislative Commission, state Sens. Greg Brower, R-Reno, and Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said they were surprised to find that Nevada was not a member of the group.

The lawmakers said that it would be in the best interest of the state to join the organization, and the commission voted to authorize the expenditure of $3,000 to pay the membership dues for 2015.

Brower said he has attended a couple of the meetings of the group and called it a great organization.

Joining the group would allow Nevada to more properly host the group’s winter meeting, the lawmakers said in their letter.

Nevada state lawmakers will be encouraged to attend the Las Vegas meeting, Brower said.

Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, voiced support for the request, saying that any proposal agreed on by both Brower and Segerblom “has my full support.”

— Sean Whaley

BUNDY BOOST

The Southern Nevada rancher who was criticized earlier this year for suggesting black people were better off as slaves is raising eyebrows again.

Cliven Bundy appears in a campaign ad to elect an African-American man to Congress, saying he ought to be able to say what he wants without being labeled a racist.

Third-party candidate Kamau Bakari appeared alongside Bundy and posted the video online a few weeks ago. It had attracted more than 50,000 views on YouTube as of midweek.

Bakari is running in the 1st Congressional District race against favored Democratic incumbent Rep. Dina Titus and Republican underdog Dr. Annette Teijeiro in the urban Las Vegas district.

The commercial features Bundy and Bakari clad as cowboys, lamenting political correctness. They challenge outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Titus to come to Las Vegas and talk about race and freedom in America.

— The Associated Press

BLACK ENDORSEMENTS

With Nov. 4 Election Day around the corner, candidate endorsements are being released nearly every day.

The Black Business Council of Nevada was picky about its list of endorsements.

The group didn’t back anyone in the governor’s race, although GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to win in a landslide against his little-known Democratic challenger, Bob Goodman. For lieutenant governor, the group backed state Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, who is Sandoval’s pick, however.

In other races the business group endorsed Republican Annette Teijeiro in the 1st Congressional District and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in the 3rd Congressional District; Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Susan Brager and Cindy Lake, a Republican challenging incumbent Mary Beth Scow; Larry Burns for sheriff; John Martin for North Las Vegas constable; District Attorney Steve Wolfson for re-election; Debbie Conway for county recorder; state Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, for re-election; and Assembly members Dina Neal and Tyrone Thompson, both D-North Las Vegas, for re-election.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801. Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.

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