by Riana Durrett

As Nevada’s 79th Legislative Session prepares to convene on February 6, a lot of new legislation will be under consideration by lawmakers for implementation. This article will offer readers a preview of marijuana-related legislative policy that the Nevada Legislative body will consider during this session.

But first let’s review some background to better understand the parameters of Nevada’s legislative landscape. There are five bodies of law (either all of a jurisdiction’s laws or all of a jurisdiction’s laws concerning a particular area of law) that will be relevant as marijuana laws continue to take shape.

NEVADA’S BODIES OF LAW

  • Nevada Constitution. This requires a medical marijuana program and registry and is unlikely to change anytime soon.
  • Nevada State Laws (NRS). There are currently at least eight Bill Draft Requests that aim to change NRS relating to marijuana and there will likely be others.
  • Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). The Department of Taxation will develop regulations surrounding the recreational use of marijuana and possibly medical use as well.
  • Initiative Petition 1 (IP1). IP1 governs certain aspects of Nevada’s recreational marijuana program while leaving other aspects for the state legislature and state agencies to decide. IP1 cannot be amended or changed during the 2017 Legislative Session.
  • Local Government. Each municipality imposes its own local codes, which carry the force of law.

During the regular legislative session, which takes place from February 6 to June 6, 2017, the Legislature can only change NRS, but this could impact the other bodies of law mentioned above. Currently legislators, committees, state agencies and others are submitting their requests to change certain laws through Bill Draft Requests (BDRs) and legislative staff is writing the requested bills.

2017 BILL DRAFT REQUESTS

Legislators, legislative committees, constitutional officers and state agencies are allotted a certain number of bills each session to change NRS. These bills are first submitted as “Bill Draft Requests” until the language of the bill has been drafted. A BDR is a precursor to the bill itself.

Below are just some of the BDRs relating to marijuana. Other BDRs exist and there will likely be more submitted before February 6, 2017.

  • BDR 43 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Authorizes local governments to enact ordinances allowing for marijuana social clubs, events and concerts.
  • BDR 30 (Sponsor: Senator Farley): Revises provisions relating to controlled substances.
  • BDR 185 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Prohibits professional licensing boards from taking disciplinary action against licensees due to the licensees’ professional involvement with marijuana.
  • BDR 361 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Provides for a patient’s bill of rights.
  • BDR 40-545 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Establishes the Early Start Program for recreational marijuana.
  • BDR 14-559 (Senate Judiciary Committee): Revises provisions relating to marijuana.
  • BDR 321 (Sponsor: Senator Segerblom): Authorizes Nevada’s governor to enter into compacts with Native American tribes in Nevada concerning the regulation of marijuana as well as revises provisions relating to a tribal marijuana program in Nevada.
  • BDR 43-598 (Sponsor: Assembly Judiciary Committee). Revises provisions related to marijuana and the operation of a vehicle or vessel.

Some of the BDRs are self-explanatory, while others are less clear. We will not know what laws they seek to change and how they seek to change them until the BDR becomes an actual bill.

ONE TO WATCH: Consumption Lounges (BDR 43)

One BDR that will be closely followed and sponsored by Senator Tick Segerblom proposes allowing local municipalities to authorize marijuana consumption in social clubs, concerts and other areas. Currently, marijuana consumption is prohibited in public and this has left some business owners wondering if they will be permitted to allow consumption in their private businesses. This bill would allow local governments to clarify the issue of private consumption within a business
as well as to allow for social clubs or
other areas of consumption outside of a personal residence, if the local government so chooses.