Do-gooders, police, judge vie for piece of pot pie

After getting a look at the upstanding citizens elbowing their way like fiends to the front of Clark County’s medicinal marijuana business line, I am reminded of a saying favored by an old illegal bookmaker.

Whenever I’d naively lament the juice politics that rules legitimate society here, he’d reply, “No deal is bad — if you’ve got a piece of it.”

So it is with the Acapulco gold rush now under way in Southern Nevada. Business and political leaders who haven’t made the slightest peep of public comment about the importance of medicinal marijuana are hustling to invest in the potentially lucrative operations. They’ve gone from suit-and-tie square to Clara Barton with a bong.

And, hey, why not? No deal is bad if you’ve got a piece of it, right?

We’ll see. If the history of Clark County government is an indicator, any time you mix a pile of potential profit with politics here, there’s usually enough sticky-fingered intrigue to generate an FBI investigation and a court-ordered wiretap.

The Clark County Commission these days is taking extra pains to usher medicinal pot shops into existence. What could possibly go wrong?

The stakes are high (no pun intended). In theory, licensed dispensaries might generate millions a year in profits and taxes if they attract not only locals but also card-holding medical marijuana tourists. The fact marijuana use is still illegal under federal law doesn’t appear to have slowed the enthusiasm of high-profile locals who also happen to have close relationships with the commissioners they’re courting.

One of my favorite jaw-droppers on the long investor list is political power broker Sig Rogich. You know, the campaign Cheshire cat who was pals with the Republican “Just Say No” to drugs crowd and even has a middle school named after him.

Just say no? With Rogich it’s, “Just Say How Much.” It’s only a rumor his middle school is considering changing the name of its mascot from the Rough Riders to the Rastafarians.

Skeptics in a community with a better sense of irony might wonder whether having Sig Roach Clip’s name associated with a public school was appropriate. Considering his connections, he’ll probably end up honored for his smoking business acumen.

Another investor with the potential to make you roll in the aisles is Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun, who beat his critics to the punch recently by announcing his financial fascination with medicinal marijuana in a newspaper column. Greenspun, a graduate of the “open your mouth and remove all doubt” school of journalism, wrote his announcement under the headline, “Preserving my marriage.”

What a scream. He meant communicating with his spouse, not morphing into a licensed pot dealer, but by the end of the daffy tale you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering if Greenspun has been smoking his Wheaties.

Like some other applicants, Greenspun couldn’t quite bring himself to simply admit it was a good deal, and he had a piece of it. Instead he had to try to make it sound like he was doing you a service by bellying up for his juiced-in percentage of the pot profits.

The good news is we’ve finally found a productive use for the pages of the Sun — rolling papers.

Among the more intriguing characters associated with the cannabis carnival is the ubiquitous juice attorney Jay Brown. He is best known these days as the BFF of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Brown represents several applicants, who will be competing against each other for the limited number of licenses. Word is he’s also charging a high “success fee,” which I suppose falls short of a guarantee from a king-sized political juice merchant.

Does representing clients who at least in theory are in competition constitute a conflict of interest for the juice lawyer?

Of course not. This is Las Vegas. No deal is bad — if you’ve got a piece of it.

The fundraising maven has campaign favor with many local politicians. That’s legal and a big part of why he’s so successful. (Do you think his close friendship with a certain senator from Searchlight also helps?)

There are plenty of other head-scratching investors, to be sure, not the least of whom are former Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins and ex-Metro intelligence bureau detective and police union leader Dave Kallas. And let’s not forget the recently retired District Judge James Bixler.

Who knew they were so hip?

It’s not that marijuana doesn’t have some medicinal uses. Frankly, anything that helps America shift from its frightening and deadly addiction to prescription painkillers is welcome news.

In 2014, Southern Nevada’s pot dealers are moving from the saloons and street corners to the country club and chamber of commerce. Not because they’re wannabe medical students, or frustrated herbalists, but because around here no deal is bad — if you’ve got a piece of it.

Call it just a wild guess, but I’m betting you didn’t get a piece of this deal, either.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Email him at jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295.

ad-high_impact_4
News
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge The President took to Twitter to criticize the former FBI director as information emerges from Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’. According to 'The New York Times', Comey describes Trump in the book as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, via The New York Times A Higher Loyalty hits stores on April 17.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
Endangered Devils Hole Pupfish numbers enough for concern, but not panic
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Death Valley National Park came together at Devils Hole, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas, for a biannual count of the Devils Hole Pupfish, an endangered species. Their count this time – 87. (Video by Patrick Connolly)
Hickey Elementary Students Put Harry Potter on Trial
Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School students learned how the judicial system works by putting Harry Potter on trial for the illegal use of magic.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
The Clark County Museum Turns 50 This Month
The Clark County Museum has an extensive collection, dating back to prehistoric times in Southern Nevada up through the present day. It was first established in April 1968 and has had several locations before it's current home on South Boulder Highway.
Route 91 Artifacts Will Be On Display This October
Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton explains what artifacts will be on display in October as part of the museums Route 91 shooting memorial exhibit called "How We Mourned."
Bullet grazes woman's head
Las Vegas police investigating calls of a shooting early Friday morning found a woman who suffered a wound to her head. A bullet grazed the woman's head while she was inside her Village Square apartment on Nellis Oasis Lane. She did not have to be hospitalized, and police said she might have been an "unintended" victim. The shooting occurred around 4 a.m. Police are looking for the shooter.
Aces Host Draft Party
The Las Vegas Aces host a WNBA draft party at the Mandalay Bay for season-ticket holders, and have the number one overall pick.
Las Vegas man stands with president at White House
President Donald Trump delivered remarks in the Rose Garden Thursday about how the GOP tax cut plan helped working families across the country. To his left stood Richard Kerzetski, president of Universal Plumbing & Heating Co. in Las Vegas. Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Transgender Man Running for Assembly District 42
U.S. Army veteran La Don Henry is hoping to become Nevada’s first openly transgender state legislator.
Erik Weihenmayer is the First Blind Person to Summit Mount Everest
Erik Weihenmayer talks about how he first got into mountaineering in 1995 with the ascent of Denali, the tallest peak in North America, and what he loves about climbing.
New Theater Coming to Neonopolis
Ken Henderson explains his concept for Notoriety, a 57,000-square-foot theater complex on the third floor of Neonopolis intended to host comedy, music and theater acts.
Politicians, Tenants Come Together at Neonopolis
Neonopolis Owner Rohit Joshi explains the concept behind the Nevada Business Forum, which brings Neonopolis tenants and politicans together once a month to discuss issues that are important to them.
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like