Two years ago today, Republican attorney general and gubernatorial hopeful Adam Laxalt tried to keep patients with out-of-state medical marijuana cards from purchasing the legal medication they need from Nevada dispensaries. Laxalt, who disapproved of the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana that voters passed by nine percent in 2016, counts staunch legal marijuana opponent Sheldon Adelson as his top donor.
On July 26, 2016, Laxalt issued an opinion against allowing patients to purchase medical marijuana using California doctors’ notes. Dispensary owners called Laxalt’s announcement “devastating” to both small businesses and patients. With a large percentage of medical marijuana patients coming from out of state, Laxalt’s letter threatened Nevada dispensaries’ entire business models and would “affect tens of thousands of people” and their ability to obtain the health care they need.
It’s no surprise that Laxalt has fought against access to legal marijuana from the beginning, considering his top donor Adelson “essentially self-funded the fight” against the 2016 ballot measure, donating over 97 percent of the total raised by the prohibitionist group. When the Trump administration threatened to squash Nevada’s billion dollar marijuana industry, Laxalt stood idly by despite “conspicuously [fighting] against what he called federal overreach during the Obama Administration.”
Inexplicably, Laxalt was the only attorney general from a state with legal marijuana not to ask Congress to expand banking access for pot businesses earlier this year. Laxalt dodged follow up questions about banking for pot businesses by saying he was waiting to meet with Nevada’s new U.S. attorney, but when he finally met with her, he wouldn’t say what they discussed. As the Reno News & Review put it, Laxalt’s “personal political preferences on a Nevada ballot measure are once again interfering with his doing his job.”
Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“The majority of Nevadans support the state’s legal marijuana industry, but the only opinion Adam Laxalt cares about is that of his biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson. Time and again, Laxalt has put what’s best for himself over what’s best for Nevada — even if it means getting in between patients, including seniors, and the care their doctors prescribe. Nevadans want a governor who will push for expanding access to health care, not block patients from receiving the treatments that work best for them.”