A medical marijuana patient, right, pays for cannabis at Reef Dispensaries at 3400 Western Ave. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

Two Nevada Republican leaders are asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions for guidance on federal regulation of marijuana as state legislators prepare to construct a budget partially based on taxing retail sales of the drug.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson and Senate Assistant Minority Ben Kieckhefer requested more guidance from Sessions on his plans for marijuana enforcement. The former Alabama senator is a longtime foe of marijuana legalization, and his appointment as attorney general has worried lawmakers from states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

While noting the federal government’s “supremacy” over states in drug enforcement, the two Republicans asked Sessions for guidance due to the “significant speculation” on what the federal government plans to do in states such as Nevada that have legalized recreational marijuana.

“With Nevada’s legislature scheduled to adjourn on June 5, 2017, we would hate to build a budget based on tax revenue projections that won’t materialize due to federal enforcement actions,” they wrote.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval unveiled plans in January for a 10 percent tax on retails sales of marijuana as a way of generating an extra $69 million for his proposed two-year budget. The legislative form of that tax increase is scheduled for a hearing Thursday afternoon.

Nevada voters approved legalizing marijuana for recreational use by a 54 to 46 percent margin in 2016, with state regulators charged with setting up a regulatory structure by the end of the year.

Both Nevada senators — Republican Dean Heller and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto — have sent a joint letter asking Sessions to take a hands-off approach on state marijuana policy.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said in a February statement that his office didn’t want to speculate on federal marijuana policy

“How the federal government might act with regard to the legalization of marijuana under state laws is unknown at this time, so it would be premature to suggest what, if any action, will be taken,” a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said in a statement. “Of course, not every action taken by the federal government, much less every statement made the president or his staff, constitutes federal overreach.”

Letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions by Riley Snyder on Scribd

Feature photo: A medical marijuana patient, right, pays for cannabis at Reef Dispensaries at 3400 Western Ave. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

INDY FAST FACTS Catherine Cortez Masto Job: U.S. Senator Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: March 29, 1964 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Gonzaga University (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada State Attorney General (2007-2015) Total donations: $20,683,341 (2011-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $565,735 League of Conservation Voters $401,508 J Street $185,558 University of California $77,798 University of Nevada $57,754 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Dean Heller Job: U.S. Senator Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: May 10, 1960 Education: University of Southern California (B.A.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada's 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011) Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007) State Assemblyman (1990-1994) Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018) Top donors: Station Casinos $117,900 Votesane PAC $92,000 MGM Resorts International $74,500 Blackstone Group $48,400 Capital Group $38,800 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Adam Laxalt Job: Nevada State Attorney General Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: August 31, 1978 Education: Georgetown University (B.A.) Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $8,262,050 (1/08/14 - 6/07/18) Top donors: Station Casinos/Zuffa/Fertitta $208,500 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Marnell Properties LLC $42,500 Starpoint Resort Group/Partners $40,000 MGM Resorts $35,000
INDY FAST FACTS Brian Sandoval Job: Nevada Governor Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: August 5, 1963 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Ohio State University (J.D.) Other public offices held: U.S. District Court Judge (2005-2009) Nevada State Attorney General (2003-2005) Nevada Gaming Commission Chair (1999-2001) Nevada Gaming Commission Member (1998-2001) State Assemblyman, District 25 (1994-1998) Total donations: $4,984,248 (1/07/11 - 7/5/17) Top donors: Caesars Entertainment $245,000 Station Casinos $158,072 MGM Resorts International $160,000 Wynn Resorts $80,000 Marnell Properties LLC $70,000
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