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Not a word on weed: AG Sessions stays silent on legalized marijuana in Las Vegas

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Las Vegas on July 12, 2017, but stayed silent on the state's recent legalization of marijuana. (Nathan O'Neal | KSNV)

While the country’s top cop spoke on a wide range of law enforcement issues in Las Vegas Wednesday morning, his silence on his opposition to marijuana is grabbing the attention of Nevada’s new marijuana industry.

It’s no secret that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of marijuana. He spoke not a single word of weed despite Nevada’s recent launch of legal recreational marijuana sales.

For months, Sessions made his opposition to legalized pot clear.


“I’m dubious about marijuana,” he said in recent months.

“Federal law on marijuana remains in effect in every state ... it's not eviscerated because the state ceases to enforce the law in that state,” Sessions said on a separate occasion.

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However, in a meeting with local law enforcement in Las Vegas Wednesday, Sessions spoke on a variety of issues from immigration to the opioid crisis but did not address the state’s new marijuana market.

“I think his presence here was a little interesting given the timing,” said cannabis attorney Phillip Silvestri of Greenspoon Marder. “The fact that he's not talking about it when he's sitting in our state and saying he disapproves of it. I'm hoping that means there's some direction from above that says 'we're not going to make this a priority.’”

That’s the hope for cannabis dispensaries like Shango Las Vegas, which operates daily at odds with the federal government.

“More and more states are accepting cannabis on a medical and recreational level and that will continue to happen ... and at some point, it's going to be so encompassing it can't be ignored,” said Shango VP Matthew Gardiner.

Without the blessing of the feds, Nevada’s budding marijuana industry still faces a slew of roadblocks – everything from banking to research.

“We are not the criminals that you think we are ... we are not bad people. We are people who enjoy cannabis ... and we want a clean product, we want a tested product, we want to pay our taxes and be part of society the way we should be accepted,” said Gardiner.

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