For almost a year now, recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada, and much has changed in that time. After waiting more than two years for recreational sales to begin it has gone gangbusters with more than 45 dispensaries in Las Vegas alone and another 62 spread statewide. For tourists and residents, it’s been a welcome change creating 7,000 new jobs and opening up new possibilities for enjoying Sin City.
However, until recently, legal weed hasn’t had much impact on the gambling industry. Control board officials have threatened casinos caught allowing marijuana on their premises with losing their gaming licenses—a terrifying risk. So, without a place to legally smoke cannabis, tourists haven’t had a lot of options when it comes to consumption. But change may be coming.
Caesars Entertainment is the first casino on The Strip to come out with new rules favorable to marijuana. According to Las Vegas News, Caesars will no longer test for marijuana as part of their employment screening process unless the individual is looking for a job in transportation.
Vice President of Communications at Caesars, Rich Broome, told KSNV-TV NBC news, “We just felt that given the changes in laws that were happening across the country, it was prudent for us to take a different point of view on marijuana than other drugs in the pre-employment screening process.” However, Broome went on to say that being “high at work” is still unacceptable and could be cause for dismissal.
The choice to no longer screen for marijuana consumption came as a result of an abiding need for good workers, but not every casino is ready to make the shift. Representatives from Wynn Resorts Ltd. stated that they had no interest in changing their policies at this time while MGM Resorts released an ambiguous statement neither for nor against marijuana testing. The issue being a very strong stance by the Nevada Gaming Commission against cannabis: “the gaming industry and the marijuana industry shall not meet.”
Still, Caesars’ decision is a step in the right direction for consumers and workers in Las Vegas and could indicate an upcoming softening toward legal marijuana in the future.
In March, the Gaming Commission eased its stance on conventions, trade shows, and similar conferences related to marijuana, allowing those events to be held as long as they don’t “facilitate the actual possessions or consumption of marijuana.” And in February, Clark County officials voted to place amnesty bins at McCarran International Airport where pot users can leave their marijuana behind before getting on a plane.
It’s too early to determine the larger implications on the Nevada recreational marijuana industry, but for now, consumers shouldn’t get their hopes up too much. We expect cannabis regulations to remain stagnant until the federal and state government come to an agreement about consumption and give the Gaming Commission the reassurance it’s looking for.