Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom
“In a year from now, if there’s no bank in Clark County, Nevada, that will accept marijuana money, our bank will.” That bold statement comes from ‘The Godfather of Pot’ and Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom (D). Segerblom is referring to a proposed county bank that if elected* as Clark County Commissioner (District E) in 2018, he would open on a local level to allow burdened marijuana companies a place to safely bank. Segerblom says, “Every time you operate in a cash business, there’s always the chance for illegal activity. Having a bank that will work for marijuana companies only legitimizes the industry here more.”
Segerblom has been a staunch marijuana advocate throughout his long political career. When asked about the current administration’s attitude toward cannabis, Segerblom stated: “I honestly think the Trump administration is afraid to interfere in states’ rights. Surprisingly, many marijuana voters are Trump voters. The middle class wants this. It’s just about putting a framework around it. You’re not creating a mafia or a cartel. You’re creating legitimate businesses.”
As Senator, Segerblom drafted regulations that allowed the state’s medical marijuana industry to become the country’s gold standard for cannabis cultivation, handling and taxation. He then helped pass the state’s recreational marijuana program in record time alongside Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R). However, when it comes to the subject of public consumption and marijuana lounges, Sandoval has taken a hands-off approach.
“I had a bill that said the states could allow these public lounges,” he told me, “but currently the governor feels he’s done enough and said [he] won’t sign the bill. After we left legislature, though, I got together with a bunch of legislative attorneys who said we don’t need the bill. The reality is that there is no law that says local governments can’t [have lounges in their districts].”
Public consumption and ‘marijuana lounges’ are still considered illegal in every state with recreational cannabis laws. I asked Segerblom how this could be possible. “Currently, state law says that as long as you’re one thousand feet from a school, you can allow a lounge to exist as a private business,” he explained. “The challenge is getting around the stigma. As County Commissioner, one of my goals will be normalizing this for people and focusing on fully legalizing these lounges on a local level that guarantees in a year from now, maybe even six months, [that] the first pot lounges in America will be in Las Vegas. You’ve got everything you could ever want now in Las Vegas. The quality of life is only getting better as we’re becoming a much more capitalistic market.”
And it’s true. The Silver State brought in over $27 million in cannabis sales in July of last year alone, more than any other state’s first month of recreational sales by a vast margin. Combine that with the state’s casino and tourism industry and there’s a recipe for some serious prosperity in southern Nevada.
“You can see the industry is growing nationwide very quickly,” Segerblom notes. “Once the federal stigma is removed, every state will regulate it. My goal for Las Vegas is to become the marijuana capital of the world. I’d love to be sitting on the strip in a year from now with a glass of wine in one hand and a Segerblom Haze joint in the other.”
The 2020s will be the decade of marijuana, and Vegas will snag the title of the Amsterdam of the West. There’s certainly no shortage of pot in Las Vegas, with something for every eager tourist to try in the Silver State. In the meantime, mild-mannered politician Segerblom will ensure that, at least for now, Las Vegas will have a bright, progressive and DOPE future ahead.
* This article was written in November of 2017. The results of the election and Segerblom’s interest in the NV County Commissioner (District E) position at the time that this article was written have been verified to the best of our knowledge.