Riana Durrett

Director, UNLV Cannabis Policy Institute
Adjunct Professor, William S. Boyd School of Law
Expertise: Cannabis law, policy, and regulation, Cannabis industry, Marijuana dispensaries


Riana Durrett — a well-known figure in Nevada’s cannabis law and policy space — is the inaugural director of UNLV's Cannabis Policy Institute, which launched in 2023. She also teaches cannabis law and regulation courses at UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law.

Durrett's background includes appointment by the governor as the first vice chair of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board. Prior to her work with the compliance board, Durrett served from 2015 to 2020 as the executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association, where she established the association as the primary resource on best practices in Nevada's cannabis industry — developing the Nevada Dispensary Association into the primary regulatory and government affairs voice for Nevada's cannabis industry.

In addition to her work at UNLV, Durrett currently serves on the boards of the Nevada Taxpayer Association and the Nevada Conservation League.

Durrett is an attorney admitted to practice law in Nevada and California. While pursuing her law degree, Durrett participated in several internship and externship programs, including a judicial internship for the Suquamish Tribe, where her mother is an enrolled tribal member. 


  • LL.M., Gaming Law and Regulation, UNLV
  • J.D., UNLV
  • B.A., Political Science, UNLV

Search For Other Experts On

business development, law, politics (Nevada)

Riana Durrett In The News

The Biden Administration took steps toward decriminalizing marijuana two weeks ago when the Drug Enforcement Agency announced its intent to reclassify the drug from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule III.
Las Vegas Sun
Leaders in Nevada’s multimillion-dollar legal cannabis industry are welcoming news that the Biden administration is working to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, but they say the devil will be in the details.
K.L.A.S. T.V. 8 News Now
In Nevada, the first recreational marijuana dispensaries opened in July 2017. The budding business boomed and now there are 698 operational licenses across the state. However, it hasn’t been the financial windfall the cannabis industry was expecting. Easing the federal restrictions on marijuana by reclassifying it could assist businesses that said the federal tax is too much of a burden to thrive.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Nevada cannabis businesses and consumers could likely enjoy lower costs under a federal proposal to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, according to state cannabis experts.

Articles Featuring Riana Durrett

students in spring
Campus News | May 1, 2024

News highlights starring UNLV students and faculty who made local and national headlines.

Tubes containing cannabis
Business and Community | November 15, 2023

Institute, led by industry expert Riana Durrett, will drive public policy surrounding cannabis legalization and explore related implications for medicine, research, and business. 

A roll of $20 bills sits on top of a pile of marijuana
Business and Community | February 1, 2019

From professors to alumni to students, the UNLV Law community is helping to light the legal path for Nevada’s flourishing marijuana industry.