A fed move against recreational pot? Nevada has $100 million riding on answer

LAS VEGAS (KSNV NEWS3LV) - At Las Vegas Releaf, GM Lissa Lawatsch spells out what recreational marijuana would mean for her business.

“We’re looking at doubling our work staff here at the dispensary,” Lawatsch told us Monday at her store, which is near the Strip.

They are doubling because medical marijuana businesses like this because this will be where you would go to buy your pot until retail stores get going.

“And the dispensary is only one place where job creation happens. You have cultivation and production facilities that we’d also have to hire individuals for,” Lawatsch adds.

The governor's betting recreational marijuana or “adult use,” as the industry call it, will happen. His proposed budget's built on $100 million in tax revenue coming in from its sale, sending the money to education.

“From the beginning, the governor has been concerned about the potential conflicts between state and federal law regarding recreational use of marijuana,” the governor’s spokesperson, Mari St. Martin, told News 3, adding "The state will review any financial consequences greater enforcement might have on the governor's proposed budget.”

“We need every dollar we can get, and that obviously is a substantial chunk of money that we can't afford to lose,” says state senator Tick Segerblom, D-Clark County, who has been the strongest proponent of marijuana both legal and medical in the legislature.

In November, he had company. Nevada voted to legalize marijuana by a 54 to 45 percemt margin.

“This won by 9 points. That's darn near a landslide. So going against the will of the people where Donald Trump lost Nevada by 2 points but marijuana regulation won by 9 points? Those are a lot of his own supporters,” says Joe Brezny, the Executive Director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association.

Supporters of legalization say it could create 6,200 direct and indirect jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.

They claim backing away from legalization drives marijuana revenue underground. “You’re enabling the black market and the cartels, because, as I said, you can’t undo the fact that the people here have decided it’s ok to possess this and consume it,” says Brezny.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer shook up the eight states and Washington, DC where recreational use is legal, saying, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it,” referring to federal action against recreational pot. Trump’s attorney general Jeff sessions, is no fan of marijuana.

“I believe that it's up to the states,” says medical marijuana customer Kenneth Carroll. He says the feds should back off.

“They need to concentrate on cocaine, and heroin, that's what's ravaging this country, and leave the pot alone, because I've never known anyone to stick up a store on pot,” Carroll says.

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