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Sisolak names former marijuana trade group leader, Reno doctor to Cannabis Compliance Board

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
IndyBlogMarijuanaState Government
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A cannabis bud in a gloved hand

The former head of the most prominent marijuana trade association in Nevada is one of the final two members named to the board regulating the state’s legal marijuana industry.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Monday that he had appointed Riana Durrett, the recently departed executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, to the Cannabis Compliance Board. He also named Dr. Bryan Young, a Reno physician, to the five-person panel.

“These final appointments to the CCB each bring their own unique expertise and insight to the table,” Sisolak said in a tweet. “I am confident their contributions to this board will only amplify the sound judgment and strong regulation carried out by the CCB.”

Durrett had been executive director of the dispensary association since 2015 until the group announced late last month that Layke Martin, a lawyer and the wife of state Treasurer Zach Conine, would take over. Durrett has a law degree from UNLV’s Boyd School of Law and is pursuing a master’s degree in gaming law and regulation.

She represented the industry as a lobbyist through major shifts, starting when the first medical marijuana dispensaries were opening in Nevada in 2015, to the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016 and numerous changes to law and regulation since. She is married to Democratic state Sen. James Ohrenschall.

Young worked as a physician in Las Vegas and has spent the last 12 years practicing in the Reno area. He has his medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Other members of the board include former Gaming Control Board chair Dennis Neilander and Las Vegas banker Jerrie Merritt. The board is chaired by former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Douglas.

The bill authorizing the board requires that the panel include a cannabis industry expert, an attorney, a doctor, a finance expert and someone with law enforcement or investigation training.

The board took over cannabis industry regulation duties from the Nevada Department of Taxation on July 1 with a vision of bringing Nevada’s “gold standard” gaming regulation protocols to the marijuana industry. In its first few months of operation, the board has adopted new regulations on the industry, lifted a freeze on license transfers, and levied complaints and record-setting fines against companies accused of violating state rules.

Board members, who are appointed by the governor, work part-time and are paid annual salaries ranging from $20,000 to $27,500. 

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