Marijuana is Legal!*

*But not at SNC


Incline dispensary sells recreational marijuana.

Caroline Coughlin, Editor

Marijuana. Cannabis. Weed. Whatever your word for the infamous plant, it is finally legal to recreationally purchase it in Incline Village. Of course, with some stipulations, including a minimum age (21), restrictions on where you can smoke (in private), and a hefty, not-very-Nevada-like tax on your overall purchase (18.2%). And perhaps the most relevant piece of news regarding legalization for SNC students is that campus remains a no-marijuana zone, recreational or otherwise.

Despite the age, tax and geographic restrictions, Incline Village’s sole dispensary, NuLeaf, has seen a steady stream of customers ranging from the curious to the seasoned user. There has been no shortage of students in NuLeaf, says Lindsey Anderson, NuLeaf store manager. “We don’t have many people mention where they come from but a good amount of the 20-30 age group demographic do say they go to a nearby college,” she said.

“We see a ton of locals daily, but the majority of our clientele are tourists.”

Since recreational sales have only been active since July 1, it is unclear whether or not students can possess and use cannabis at SNC Tahoe. However, because our college receives federal funding, the college administration must follow federal laws, and as far as Uncle Sam is concerned Marijuana is still illegal.

“Even though it is legal in your home for 21 and up, it isn’t allowed on campus,” Lizzie Thibodeau, Director of Student Affairs said. Among Thibodeau’s duties is setting and enforcing rules for the more than 100 students who reside in the dorms.

Because of the restrictive nature of the legalization, senior Sarah Jakel says she hasn’t noticed a huge impact on college life.

“I don’t think it’ll impact the students much because it’s still not allowed on
campus or let alone in any public setting,” Jakel said. “Plus, you have to be 21 to go into any dispensary and there’s so many restrictions on how much you can purchase and when and where you can smoke legally.”

The Tahoe culture and marijuana have a long history of intersecting, perhaps due to the feel good vibes of the alpine atmosphere. With the sales of recreational marijuana producing $3 million within the first four days, marijuana as a tax revenue source for Nevada is proving to be promising.

“Registered patients do not have to pay the excise tax, only the sales tax will be added at point of sale, and recreational users do pay the excise tax,” Anderson said. Patients with medical marijuana prescriptions pay an 8.5 percent tax rate.

“This tax money benefits the state by providing funding to schools and the [Department of Veteran’s Affairs]. We are already seeing some major outcomes in school funding.”

“I think weed becoming recreationally legal is a pretty good thing because legalizing it doesn’t mean there is going to be an increase in use, now you can more so control legal substances better than you can illegal ones,” Jakel said.

“Marijuana also has so many health benefits and I think that it becoming recreationally legal will get people to start understanding and supporting it rather than supporting corrupt pharmaceutical companies.”

Marijuana legalization advocates have battled against a long history of prohibition in the state. Marijuana was first banned in Nevada in 1923 and wasn’t legal in any form until 1998, when medical marijuana prohibition ended after a successful ballot measure campaign. Now, 94 years after marijuana was banished, it’s back… in the privacy of your own homes, of course.