Democrats knew in 2016 that beyond the other scandals, that Donald Trump was ultimately unqualified to be trusted or capable in an true emergency situation, and in this pandemic crisis the states are taking the lead. We need a progressive legislature that will guarantee Nevadans' security and healthcare access. As a Bernie Sanders supporter since 2016, I believe that this crisis clearly shows the need for some form of universal emergency coverage. At the same time, we need to literally empower our homeowners by subsidizing the installation of Nevada-made off-grid batteries in case of power disruption. I will be a reliable vote on all issues close to our blue-beating hearts: protecting unions, assisting veterans, finding solutions for the growing homeless problems in our neighborhoods and reducing gang activity and property damage. Additionally, as a former medical cannabis activist, I have some ideas on shaping our still developing industry for the widest community benefit.
Mike McAuliffe was born and raised in New York City. Mike opened his first commercial photography studio in 1977 in Manhattan while he was a student attending the School of Visual Arts. In 1991 he began teaching photography at his alma mater, later expanding his classes into the computer arts department over the next six years and beginning his forays into political activism.
Moving to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1998, Mike continued working in photography and graphic design. During his early years in Las Vegas, he continued to teach photography, first at UNLV and then at CCSN.
Following the 2001 session of the Nevada Legislature, Mike attended public meetings in advance of the start of the state's medical marijuana program. This led to his working with the next four directors of the program through the end of the decade. At first, this meant assisting patients through the then complex path to obtaining a Nevada medical marijuana license. As his research into and knowledge on the subject grew, he began to seek out doctors and convince a then reluctant medical community to accept this alternative therapy. In 2007, Mike was asked by the operational manager of the state program to assist patients beyond what the state agency itself was allowed, after they had received their licenses. Often, this required assisting patients who were being forced by the state to learn how to become medical sustenance gardeners. It also marked the beginning of his efforts to change the statutes which forced patients to grow their own medicine to more accurately reflect the Constitutional mandate of "appropriate methods of supply". In 2008, Mike completed the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program to better assist these patients, as the legislature ultimately did not act on legislation permitting medical cannabis dispensaries for another five years. Additionally, Mike took multiple law classes at UNLV, ultimately enrolling in and successfully completing the Paralegal Certificate Program to assist in the legal and political battles which he knew would ensue.
Over the next several years Mike, attended Democratic state and county party functions, traveled around the state testifying before the legislature, county commissions, TV, radio, newspapers and lobbying individual politicians on behalf of patient's rights under the Article IV, Section 38 of the Nevada Constitution. After his first foray into the domain of non-profits as Executive Director of Nevada NORML 2008-2009, Mike eventually served on the founding boards of five other non-profits including the National Cannabis Industry Association, WECAN (Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada) and the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council. Opening medical cannabis dispensaries in Denver and Colorado Springs following the Colorado Supreme Court's decision allowing such facilities in 2009, Mike sold both after Colorado legislators banned non-Colorado residents from owning such businesses the following year.
Returning to Las Vegas and witnessing the two back-alley dispensaries which had opened in the state, Mike got a fellow activist in the right spot to ask President Barack Obama a question about medical marijuana dispensaries at a town hall event. After hearing his reply of "We've stopped the prosecutions," Mike applied for a Clark County business license and opened the Nevada Compassion Center in a local professional building. Staffing up with a retired U.S. Air Force surgeon, a former charge nurse and military veteran security, the office produced 20% of the state's new and renewal applications for 2010, despite performing these tasks for only six months.
During this time Mike, a Nevada State Democratic delegate, attended the party convention and learned that platform plank amendments could be proposed from the floor upon petition of a number of delegates. He wrote out the plank amendment, enlisted a friend's help and collected the required signatures to present to the platform committee before the end of the morning session. Although the party leadership opposed the amendment from the dais and floor microphones, the rank and file overwhelmingly supported the amendment. His amendment was the first time a state party in the U.S. adopted a platform plank supporting the development of a medical marijuana industry.
The proliferation of dozens of medical cannabis dispensaries in the Las Vegas that summer prompted a federal response with raids across the Las Vegas valley essentially shutting down the newborn industry before it could grow any further. The raids, resulting indictments and public outcry of some of those owners early in 2011 prompted the Nevada Legislature to take up the issue in it's next session in 2013, ultimately resulting in fulfilling the Constitutional mandate of thirteen years earlier. Mike appeared several times on local news shows along with Tick Segerblom and also with KSNV station owner and philanthropist James E. Rogers to explain these proposed changes to the public at large. During the session, Mike wrote several amendments to the bill on behalf of WECAN, the substance of which were included in the final statute. Over the next four years, he hosted several local AM radio shows on KLAV including the WECAN Nevada Cannabis News, which interviewed a number of various public officials and industry celebrities.
After assisting several businesses to get their medical cannabis dispensary licenses over the next two years and consulting on operations, Mike in 2016 underwent an emergency quadruple bypass and decided to spend some time enjoying being alive.
On March 13, 2020, Mike filed to run for Nevada's 20th Assembly District on a platform of expanding healthcare as a right to serve the nation's economic well-being, solar homesteading through distributed off-grid backups and criminal justice reform by using the state's existing infrastructure to train workers in the chronically understaffed medical support fields in the state. He has lived with his wife Val and a succession of red poodles, and rescue dogs and cats in the district since 1998.
On March 13, 2020, Mike filed to run for Nevada's 20th Assembly District on a platform of expanding healthcare as a right to serve the nation's economic well-being, solar homesteading through distributed off-grid backups and criminal justice reform by using the state's existing infrastructure to train workers in the chronically understaffed medical support fields in the state.