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Sandoval against Nevada marijuana lounges

Updated September 12, 2017 - 5:14 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday said he opposes marijuana lounges and is concerned such facilities could spark the ire of the federal government.

Sandoval said his position has not changed since the spring, when his opposition to lounges where patrons can use marijuana helped kill a bill in the Nevada Legislature.

“I did not support them previously,” Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday. “I don’t support them now.

“I think that this might invite more (federal) scrutiny with regard to the sale of recreational marijuana.”

Sandoval’s comments came one day after a Legislative Counsel Bureau opinion was released that said nothing in state law prevents cities and counties from allowing pot lounges.

“I think it’s way too early to be doing something like that,” Sandoval said. “I think it’s important that we continue to see how the sale of recreational marijuana evolves.”

Sandoval said he has not read the bureau’s opinion, but he would like the attorney general’s office to weigh in on the matter.

“Respectively, a Legislative Counsel Bureau opinion doesn’t have any precedential value,” he said.

The governor also said other marijuana issues should be solved before lounges become a priority in Nevada. Alcohol distributors have an exclusive right to distribute recreational marijuana, but the state tax department has opened distribution licensing to meet the need. The issue may head to the state Supreme Court.

“We still have an outstanding issue with regard to distribution,” he said. “I think that’s something that needs to be resolved once and for all.”

Adults in Nevada 21 years and older have been able to legally buy recreational marijuana since July 1.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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