LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — After celebrating the economic triumphs of the cannabis industry in Nevada, advocates say there is still work to be done for those locked up for minor possession charges.
It has been over a year since Gov. Steve Sisolak passed a resolution to pardon anyone convicted of minor marijuana offenses.
“It’s something that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed quickly,” said Simon Nankervis, the CEO of The Source Holding.
"If we find someone who has been convicted of an offense and we’re able to provide them with employment, I think that’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Nankervis says you cannot expunge the records in the state of Nevada, only conceal them.
Gov. Sisolak’s Assembly Bill 192 streamlined decriminalizing minor possession marijuana convictions, but it is not automatic.
“A: they don’t have access to the resources to get the advice,” he said. “And B: I think a lot of the time they don’t even know where to go to get that advice.”
The state is supposed to have pardoned anyone who was convicted in the past two decades of possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. An amount that’s easily exceeded without dangerous intent.
“Someone who is using it for medical purposes—definitely two to three ounces is not an unusual amount for someone to have in their possession,” said Nankervis.
13 Action News asked the Office of the Attorney General just how many people have been pardoned in the state since the resolution was signed, but the office says it does not maintain records of the exact amount of pardons.
The full statement from the attorney general's office is below:
“The June 2020 vote by the State Board of Pardons Commissioners pardoned thousands of people who had been convicted of possessing a small amount of cannabis. Our office does not maintain records of the exact number of pardons, though all persons that we know of that have been convicted of the applicable crimes have been pardoned.
In the original resolution, it’s mentioned that 15,592 people were convicted of misdemeanor simple cannabis possession crimes from 1986 to 2017.
It is not possible to determine how many pending cases remain, as every prosecuting agency in the state manages its own prosecutions.”
"I really encourage my peers and my partners and other people in the industry to really get behind, 'How do we educate and help people that have been convicted of minor cannabis offenses to be able to actually better themselves, move forward, get jobs, and become an active member of society again?’" said Nankervis.
The Source dispensary is helping people clear their records during an event on Saturday, Oct. 16, at its location along Rainbow Avenue and Sahara Boulevard. That runs from noon to 4 p.m.