Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) says lawmakers were mistaken in thinking that widely legalizing cannabis in Nevada would make the unregulated market disappear, and he wants the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) to start prosecuting illegal operations in addition to regulating legal ones.
Yeager said that he was disappointed that the board’s budget proposal, presented Wednesday, did not include actions to secure “large civil penalties” and prosecutions for unregulated cannabis operations. But Tyler Klimas, executive director of the CCB, said the agency needs more direction on how to approach the unregulated market, which he said includes operations allegedly tied to drug cartels in the commercial and unregulated cannabis markets.
“Boots on the ground [law] enforcement, I think, will be very important,” Klimas told lawmakers at a joint Senate-Assembly budget committee meeting. “But also a clear directive on what we do when we find [something]. We’re not talking about small-time dealers … We’re talking about illegal, large-scale operations, cartel-led operations.”
During a legislative hearing in early February, while seeking to expand the CCB’s investigative unit, Klimas told lawmakers that the “health” of the market struggles with significant compliance issues and that the commercial cannabis industry “functions as a smoke screen”