- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Former University of Nevada, Reno President Joe Crowley, who also served a term as the president of the NCAA, is the head of one of the companies the Reno City Council has approved for a license to cultivate medical marijuana.

The council approved the city’s first two such business licenses late Wednesday.

Crowley currently works as president of Sierra Wellness Connection, which received one of the licenses along with MMG Agriculture, which is led by former Reno real estate executive Job Hall.

Final state approval is still required before they can open cultivation centers they both plan in Golden Valley north of Reno.

Crowley said Sierra Wellness Connection will also be operating a dispensary in Reno. He told the Reno Gazette-Journal (https://tinyurl.com/njykv2m ) on Wednesday he became interested in medical marijuana as his older brother was dying of multiple sclerosis. His older sister, who underwent 13 major surgeries, also used medical marijuana as a pain reliever, he said.

“To watch what happened to him was agony for me,” Crowley said of his older brother. “And my sister, she’s one of those people for whom the standard pain reliever does not work.”

Crowley said he was recruited into the business by Sierra Wellness Connection’s chairman Steven Nightingale, a Reno writer and casino owner.

“He asked me if I would be on the board,” Crowley said. “I told him I would have to think about it and talk to my family because I knew I would probably take some hits in the public. A lot of folks are just not aware of the history.”

Crowley said he and his business partners are not part of the push to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Reno Police Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said both companies have worked with police, providing tours of their facilities.

“Everything is above board,” Robinson said, noting that both the city and the state have the ability to pull the business license if any infractions are found.

“This is a highly regulated enterprise,” Crowley said. “As it should be.”

Crowley, a native Iowan who earned his political science degree at the University of Iowa in 1959 and later a doctoral degree from the University of Washington, served as president of UNR from 1978-2001. He was San Jose State’s interim president from 2003-04 and headed the NCAA from 1993-95.


Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com

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