Leaf hanging off the side of a large cannabis plant in an indoor grow environment.

Rory Savatgy

Nevada Gov. Signs Rec. Rules Bills, Vetoes Measure Vacating Some Convictions

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed three bills related to the state’s forthcoming recreational cannabis industry, but also vetoed a measure that would have allowed the vacating and sealing of some cannabis-related crimes, the Nevada Independent reports.

The rejected bill (AB.259) would have allowed misdemeanor cannabis convictions related to possession of 1 ounce or less to be vacated and sealed while allowing judges to diverge from mandatory minimum sentences on some drug-related crimes. In his veto message, the Republican governor said there was “much to commend” in the legislation but said it went a bit too far because other bills passed during the session made it easier to seal some criminal records. He also expressed concerns that the bill might have unintended consequences.

“Presumably this provision would permit vacated judgments and record sealing for all marijuana conduct that is now lawful, potentially including marijuana trafficking and possession of large quantities of marijuana, since such activity is now allowed in Nevada, although limited and subject to significant regulation,” he wrote, adding that departing from mandatory sentences “is an incomplete solution, and one that opens the door for potential inequities depending on the preferences and practices of each individual judge.”

The cannabis-related bills signed by Sandoval include a measure aiming to limit labeling, packaging, and advertising of cannabis products (SB.344) in ways that appeal to children, a measure (AB.422) to keep the state’s medical cannabis program relevant with the introduction of a recreational market, and a measure (AB.487) to add a 10 percent tax on adult-use sales.

The labeling measure outlaws edibles appearing “to be a lollipop” and “bears the likeness…or a real or fictional person, animal or fruit, including…caricature [or] cartoon.” It also prohibits shapes such as balloons and toys and bars concentrated cannabis from being applied to commercially-available candies.

The bill to keep the medical program intact imposes limitations on the taxes and fees a municipality can impose on the medical cannabis market. The 10 percent tax is expected to bring $64 million per biennium to the state’s “rainy day” fund.

Adult-use cannabis sales are expected to begin under Early Start provisions on July 1.

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