The Chamber of Cannabis and Nevada’s Cannabis Future

Audio: a conversation with Chamber of Cannabis co-founders Tina Ulman and Dani Baranowski

Two females smoking and cooking with marijuana - photo: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Nevada voters first approved the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act in 1998. The initiative passed again in 2000, which amended the state constitution to provide for legal access to medical cannabis. Nevada Assembly Bill 453 formally legalized medical cannabis in June of 2001. Since then, the state’s cannabis industry has been in flux and continues to grow and evolve.

Initiatives to legalize the adult use of cannabis in Nevada failed in 2002 and 2006. Colorado legalized the adult use of cannabis in 2012.

In Nevada, after years of rulemaking and the issuance of medical cannabis business licenses, Silver State Relief in Sparks became the the first medical cannabis dispensary to open in the state on July 31 of 2015.

In 2016, Nevada voters approved the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. Since July 2017, anyone over 21 can purchase possess and legally use cannabis. An adult can grow up to six plants, if they live farther than 25 miles from a dispensary.

Since 2015, nearly 350 cannabis business licenses have been issued, both medical and adult use. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Nevada Department of Taxation oversaw the medical and adult use systems until the summer of 2020 when regulation of cannabis in Nevada was transferred to the Cannabis Compliance Board or CCB. 

Last legislative session Nevada lawmakers took two more big steps in regulating cannabis. Before AB400 was signed into law, many who used cannabis products and drove a motor vehicle within 48 hours of use were likely to exceed the per se blood level limit for Tetracanabidiol (THC), the psychoactive component in cannabis. Now, a DUI for cannabis is based on demonstrable impairment and not the amount of THC in the blood.

The passage of AB341 last session lays the groundwork for the CCB and stakeholders to issue licenses and develop regulations for cannabis consumption venues.

The Chamber of Cannabis is a non-profit organization based in Las Vegas and is working to build a more inclusive and prosperous industry. The organization was central in the development and passage of AB341, which includes groundbreaking social equity provisions to better help women and communities impacted by the War on Drugs own consumption venues.

To learn more about what Nevada’s cannabis future holds, we spoke with Tina Ulman and Dani Baranowski on the same phone call.

Tina Ulman is co-founder and president of the Chamber of Cannabis and the director of brands for the Source dispensary.

Dani Baranowski is co-founder and vice president of the Chamber of Cannabis. She is also sales manager and brand strategist at State Flower Cannabis and Valhalla Confections, a vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator. 

You hear Tina’s voice first.

See music credits below.

Select quotes from the interview:

“And then there’s a big opportunity (in AB341 and the ownership of consumption venues) for those who didn’t get represented, social equity applicants, women and communities affected by the War on Drugs, and that’s never happened before,” explained Ulman. “This bill is also the first to establish what social equity means, and that’s important because we want to make sure everybody has an opportunity to get into the multi-billion dollar industry, not just millionaires and billionaires.”

“There’s 330 licenses here in Nevada, and one of them is fully owned by a Caucasian woman. Another one is partially owned by an African American woman and that’s it … that’s it,” said Ulman.

“We are female-founded. We have probably 70 percent females in our organization (the Chamber of Cannabis). We have a lot of great, cool guys in our organization too, but there are a lot of women wo consume cannabis and there’s a lot of talented women in this industry,” Ulman said. “And we plan on making pathways for them to be business owners and operators, not just management, and that’s where a lot of these women fit is management.”

Music credits as reported to the Public Radio Exchange, in order of appearance:

Song: Surface Currents

Artist: Kutiman
Album: Space Casava
Label: Indie
Date: 2015
Duration: 3:12

Song: Cheetah Guava
Artist: Kutiman
Album: Space Casava
Label: Indie
Date: 2015
Duration: 1:16

Song: And Out
Artist: Kutiman
Album: Kutiman
Label: Indie
Date: 2007
Duration: 2:26

Song: Merlion
Artist: Emancipator
Album: Dusk to Dawn
Label: Loci Records
Date: 2013
Duration: 2:26

Song: The Way
Artist: Emancipator
Album: Dusk to Dawn
Label: Loci Records
Date: 2013
Duration: 1:46

Song: Minor Cause
Artist: Emancipator
Album: Dusk to Dawn
Label: Loci Records
Date: 2013
Duration: 1:53

Song: Valhalla
Artist: Emancipator
Album: Dusk to Dawn
Label: Loci Records
Date: 2013
Duration: 1:18