Former Nevada gaming regulator, retired justice named to state’s Cannabis Compliance Board Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · February 18, 2020 at 5:34 am Nevada’s governor dipped into the ranks of former gaming regulators in selecting one of the first members of the state’s Cannabis Compliance Board. Former Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander, who oversaw the regulatory panel for 10 years, and retired Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Douglas were named to the board by Governor Steve Sisolak last week. Douglas, who served as chief justice of the state’s highest court in 2011 and 2018, was named chairman of Cannabis Board, which will eventually consist of five members. Douglas and Neilander – along with Cannabis Board Executive Director Tyler Klimas – will lay the regulatory groundwork and oversight process to regulate Nevada’s legal marijuana industry. Neilander, who is listed as Of Counsel for statewide Kaempfer Crowell law firm, had career with the control board and in state government before being appointed as chairman of agency by Governor Kenny Guinn. He served as chair of the board’s audit committee and was chief of control board’s corporate securities division. With Kaempfer Crowell, Neilander has focused on gaming law, administrative law, and government affairs. Dennis Neilander According to the Nevada Current, the law firm has represented marijuana interests, primarily in land use matters before local governments. A spokesman for Sisolak told the Current that Neilander is “walled off” from cannabis-related matters and does not share in the firm’s profits because of his status as Of Counsel. In 2014, the Nevada Gaming Control Board drafted an industry notice that admonished gaming license-holders and prospective license applicants to stay away from the then-fledgling medical marijuana business due to continued federal enforcement of anti-drug laws. Neilander had left the Control Board prior to the notice. The Control Board notice has remained in effect even after recreational marijuana became legal in 2016. Under Nevada law, legal marijuana – recreational and medical – can only be consumed in a private residence and not inside a gaming establishment. Marijuana dispensaries are now commonplace, however, in both Las Vegas’ tourism corridor and near off-Strip resorts. Marketing efforts targeting Las Vegas’ 42 million annual visitors have increased. The website for the Essence Dispensary highlights its location on Las Vegas Boulevard just north of the Sahara and across from the Strat Casino and Tower. It includes a photo of the neon green building in the shadow of the Strat. Reef promotes its “flagship” dispensary “just blocks from the famous Vegas Strip,” which “makes it easier than ever to enhance your Vegas experience.” Another dispensary, the Apothecary Shoppe in Las Vegas, is across West Flamingo Road from the Palms Casino Resort and next door to the Gold Coast Casino Hotel. Sisolak touted the Cannabis Compliance Board last year during his State of State Address to the Nevada Legislature as key to regulating Nevada’s legal marijuana industry. The panel was created through Assembly Bill 533. Retired Nevada Justice Michael Douglas The board is slated to take over regulatory duties of Nevada’s marijuana industry on July 1 and will eventually consist of five members. The governor’s office said the other appointments will be made at a later date. “Justice Douglas and Mr. Neilander make up the first two appointments to the Cannabis Compliance Board, bringing together one of the brightest legal minds in Nevada’s history and the longest-serving chair of the highly regarded Gaming Control Board,” Sisolak said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence that these principled public servants will provide invaluable guidance and steady hands as the Cannabis Compliance Board transitions to a fully authorized enforcement body on July 1.” Douglas and Neilander will begin serving immediately and will be eligible for reappointment in July 2021. Douglas was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2004 and retired from the bench in 2019. Douglas also sat as a civil-criminal District Court judge in Las Vegas. From 1984 to 1995, he worked for the civil division in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.