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Nevada Dispensary Association Welcomes New Director

Associated Press

The Nevada Dispensary Association establishes regulations and rules for Nevada’s marijuana dispensaries.

They’re used to moving quickly. They had to do so at lightning speed when the state legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, and again when COVID-19 forced many businesses to either close or adapt their offerings to online and delivery. 

And they just welcomed a new executive director. Layke Martin is an attorney and the former assistant dean at UNLV’s law school, and she took over at the association in September.

Martin told KNPR's State of Nevada that having a legal background is helpful for the work she does for the association.

“I’m constantly reviewing regulations, commenting on proposed regulations,” she said.

In addition, the association works with Nevada lawmakers to draft new legislation governing the growing industry.

It also communicates with its members about those regulations and offers regular educational programs to keep them up to date on best practices.

“A lot of our educational programming that we provide to our members has to do with compliance. So, record keeping, financial compliance, inventory control, marketing and advertising, packaging and labeling and so on,” she said.

Ahead of next year's legislative session, the association will be consulting with its members to establish legislative priorities.

Like many industries, the cannabis industry has struggled in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

"In the first couple of months of COVID, when there was a total shutdown and especially before we had curbside, the industry was off about 50 percent as a whole,” said Tisha Black, the president of the Nevada Dispensary Association.

However, now that curbside pickup is allowed, the industry has seen a jump in numbers. Black said in July there was a 37 percent jump in sales compared to the same time last year.

There are still some outstanding problems the industry is still trying to work out, including banking. Right now, marijuana businesses can't use regular banks because the drug is still illegal under federal law and banks are federally regulated.

“With banking, the truly best option is legalization at the federal level,” Martin said.

She said there are people in the public sector working on solutions, including her husband - Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine. There are also private financial institutions that are trying to find workarounds, but that is all they will be until marijuana is decriminalized on a federal level, Martin said. 

There is also the issue of marijuana lounges. They are not allowed in Clark County, but Black said there is an effort underway on the county level to establish the regulations and infrastructure to allow them.

She said the dispensary association is watching the issue closely.

Layke Martin, executive director, Nevada Dispensary Association; Tisha Black, president, Nevada Dispensary Association 

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.