Nevada to allow medical marijuana dispensaries


By Matt Woolbright, AP

After 13 years of waiting, medical marijuana patients in Nevada will soon have a legal way to obtain the drug without growing it themselves.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB374 into law Wednesday. The measure establishes the framework to make pot available to medical marijuana card holders, imposing fees and requirements for growers, processors and dispensaries of pot. It also contains provisions to continue to allow home-growing until 2016.

Nevadans voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 and a year later were able to obtain medical marijuana cards. However, legislative efforts to create a legal way for users to obtain the drug — aside from growing a small number of plants at home — have all failed over the years.

Now, their wait is over.

“This new law will provide patients with the safe and reliable access to medical marijuana that they deserve,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement shortly after the bill’s signing. “Regulating medical marijuana sales will also generate revenue and take a bite out of the state’s underground marijuana market.”

Nevada becomes 14th state to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, and it’s one of 19 states and the District of Columbia with medical marijuana laws, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Illinois lawmakers passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana this year that is awaiting the governor’s final decision.

Lawmakers crafted the legislation largely after the Arizona model. In fact, several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee traveled to Arizona during the session to get a better sense of what Nevada’s law should look like.

The product will be taxed at the growing, processing and selling stages. The revenue created will first fund the regulation of the dispensaries with any remaining revenue being funneled to education. Hefty application fees are also expected to help defray some of the costs.

That group was led by the committee chairman, Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who was also the bill’s primary sponsor. Also in attendance was Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, who ended up being the deciding vote in the bill passing the Assembly.

Because of the tax components, supporters needed a two-thirds majority to approve the bill. With Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, championing the effort in the Senate that was not a problem, but Assembly Republicans had no appetite for the bill — and without at least one voting for it, it would have failed.

But Fiore, a freshman legislator, sided with the Democrat majority to propel the dispensaries to Sandoval’s desk. She told the Associated Press at the time that she swung the vote because her allegiance to the state constitution — which mandates a distribution system for medicinal marijuana — was her top priority.

Republican Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said during the floor debate that the law would benefit the Silver State economically, but he feared society would decline because the availability of the drug would lead to misuses.

Other Republicans objected on federal grounds, because marijuana — whether used medicinally or recreationally — is illegal under federal law. State lawmakers had an obligation to uphold the U.S. Constitution before state laws, they argued in hearings and during the floor debate.

Federal authorities would have legal grounds to intervene, but that has not happened in other states with operating medical pot dispensaries.

Dispensaries in the Silver State would open fully aware of potential federal prosecution, Hutchison said.

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Comments (22)
  1. Biggerpicture says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    ‘Other Republicans objected on federal grounds, because marijuana — whether used medicinally or recreationally — is illegal under federal law.’

    Hasn’t the GOP run campaigns espousing more state control and less federal control of issues over the last 6 years?

    Oh, I get it. The wind direction changed.

  2. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    I think the intent is valid but the implementations are wrong.
    Permits to buy are too easy to get and are handed out to people who aren’t really in need of this drug. Before one of SLT’s stores was shut down on 3rd Street, you could drive by there every afternoon to see a group of teenagers standing outside inhaling their “medicine”.

    If it is truly a medical drug, I’m not convinced yet, then integrate the sale into the existing pharmacy system controlled by pharmacists.

  3. reloman says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    tahoeadvocate the reason the existing pharmacy system cant do it is that it is illegal under federal law and pharmacies would have too much too loose if busted by the feds. So until the federal law changes pharmacies wont sell it.

  4. nature bats last says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    Oh lucky Nevada neighborhoods that will soon be reaking of Skunk and seeing teenagers and old stoners hanging out side their “dispensaries”. Hopefully the towns will make some sort of guidelines before a pot shop opens on every street corner and down the street from the local elementary schools.

  5. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    Gee, SLT may lose some of the fine, upstanding citizens that are new transplants in our community (no pun intended) to the warmer climate down the hill. One can only hope.

    Has anyone alerted Steve Kubby yet? Maybe Nevada would like his expertise.

  6. MTT says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    I did not even know Medical MJ was legal in Nevada.

    I thought you could get busted for it. I still am unsure if people with a CA Prescription are legal in Nevada.

  7. Steve Kubby says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    IT’S RIDICULOUS HOW PEOPLE STILL PRETEND THAT MARIJUANA IS A FRINGE ISSUE, WHICH IS UNWELCOME IN THIS TOWN

    Polls show 85% support nationwide for medical marijuana, while South Lake Tahoe voted 52% “YES” for legalization in 2010. Thousands of scientific peer reviewed studies have been published on the amazing medical benefits of cannabis. Some claim that weed is still against federal law, but as of this week, residents of DC can now legally buy and consume medical marijuana in that federal jurisdiction. Frankly, you’d be amazed who supports medical cannabis in this town. Wherever I go, people out themselves to me and thank me for my work. So far, I’ve met people from every walk of life here, many of whom you would never dream use pot and grow it secretly in their homes. I personally know judges, prosecutors, cops, lawyers, Olympic athletes, real estate brokers, teachers, coaches, bankers, and even a former member of the SLT city council, who all use medical marijuana. In most cases, the story is always the same – cannabis works better and has less side effects than the toxic pharmaceutical drugs they were using. The fact that so many people will risk jail to use this natural medicine should tell you just how effective it really is. Regardless of all these documented benefits, there are still those who think God screwed up and created a plant that must be declared illegal and those who grow this natural herb must be treated as criminals. Apparently, these folks believe they know better than God and that they must fix his mistake. How dopey is that?

  8. GRUNT'S says - Posted: June 14, 2013

    “ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL ANOTHER ONE” Stevie!!!

    People have been doin weed for a long, long time. Just like booze & tobacco, etc., etc.

    IT ISN’T A MEDICINE – so stop with your trying to convince the world that everyone is “sick” so they should smoke weed to make them feel better.

    People smoke it cause they want to, makes them feel good, whatever the reason, most of us could care less about anybody smoking weed.

    But your constant advocation that it is a medicine is BS. It ain’t no medicine.

    So please SHUT UP,, burn one, get a munchie, go to bed and STAY AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD.

  9. Steve Kubby says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    DON’T BELIEVE THE DOPEY STORIES ABOUT WEED HARMING YOUR BRAIN

    Someone actually responded to my latest post with a scientific study, instead of just their opinion, to support their allegation that the use of cannabis comes with “huge costs to brain function and memory.”

    However, if you bother to read this study you find that the first sentence in this abstracts says, “It is UNCERTAIN whether frequent marijuana use ADVERSELY affects human brain function.” (emphasis added). So this study found certain effects from toking up, but was unable to show it had adverse effects.

    The notion that marijuana kills brain cells is utter nonsense. Not only does weed not harm your brain, scientists now know that weed actually helps IMPROVE brain function.

    Recently, TIME magazine ran an article entitled, “How Cannabinoids May Slow Brain Aging,” in which they state: “The latest review, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggests that activating the brain’s cannabinoid system may trigger a sort of anti-oxidant cleanse, removing damaged cells and improving the efficiency of the mitochrondria, the energy source that powers cells, ultimately leading to a more robustly functioning brain.”

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/29/how-cannabinoids-may-slow-brain-aging/

  10. Dogula says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    ‘cannabis works better’
    Gross overstatement. It MIGHT work better. It might not work at all. Didn’t do a darned thing for me when I had cancer.
    Regardless, 90% of the people getting their ‘medicine’ from the dispensaries are not using it as ‘medicine’. They using it because they like the high. Which is fine. Just be honest about it. Change the law. The current system encourages control of the supply by a criminal element, EXACTLY the way it was when ALL use was illegal. Except that now, the criminals get government licensing run roughshod over the private entrepreneur.
    Just legalize it.

  11. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Mr. Kubby:

    I don’t think that medical marijuana was necessarily what was so unwelcome in SLT as much as it’s been the caliber of the human element and their accompanying conduct that this attracted to the town. And as far as the District of Colombia (DC) is concerned, while that may be the main locale of the federal government that District is not run by the federal government and operates independently such as a state or other jurisdiction, so it is still against the federal law to grow, use and sell marijuana.

    It would be my hope that you would marshal the forces of all the powerbroker individuals to which you’ve referred in this and prior posts and work to persuade the federal government to change their position on this and make it legal so it could be regulated in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco. If as you say there is 85% national support for marijuana, medical or otherwise, there is obviously a public desire for this and a needed industry thus the tobacco growers’ could cultivate marijuana, the cigarette manufacturers could package the product, and it could be regulated, sold and taxed.

    Of course the medical marijuana industry and the illegal profiteers would likely object to this but it could help eliminate the illegal grows on federal lands and the associated environmental damage that those illegal grows are causing along with the dangers to the public that inadvertently happen across them.

    I suggest you shift yours and your powerbroker’s focus to the federal government and stop wasting time on this little town of 20,000 people who have no real influence on the federal government’s actions.

  12. MTT says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Dogula

    YES take the crime out of it.

    People smoke MJ. the End It should not be illegal.

    Just say NO to the DEA

  13. Steve Kubby says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    CONGRESS HAS JUST OFFICIALLY APPROVED MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR DC

    Don’t let people tell you medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, because that is no longer true. The District of Columbia now has an active medical marijuana program, having been approved by voters in 2010. That victory for suffering D.C. residents was approved by Congress pursuant to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution which grants Congress “exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever” over the District of Columbia.

  14. reloman says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    4-mer-usmc, though in the 70s the district was granted home rule, congress may over rule any laws enacted by the city, so they are not like any city or state, they are effectively controlled by the Feds.

  15. nature bats last says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    keep on smoking your stuff Steve and convincing yourself that there is no side effects. You are like Ted Long, you like to hear yourself talk. Bla Bla Bla

  16. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Mr. Kubby and reloman:

    Article I – Section 8 enumerates the legislative powers of Congress, and Clause 17 of said Article Section states the following:

    “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;”.

    I stand corrected in my assumption that DC is wholly self-governing and thank reloman for pointing this out and teaching me something new today

    It was the thirteen member District of Columbia Council that approved a medical marijuana measure for the District of Columbia (DC) and not the Congress of the United States of America. The 13-member DC Council (akin to a 5-member City Council for SLT) pursuant to Section 14 of the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999, effective on July 27, 2010, per DC Law 18-210 adopted an Amendment to Title 22 of the DC Municipal Regulations and added a new Subtitle C “Medical Marijuana” which included Title 7 – Human Health Care and Safety, Subtitle G-II Marijuana – Chapter 16B – Legal Use of Marijuana, Section 7-1671.02 through Section 7-1671.09.

    While it was not the United States Congress who passed this it appears that it is within their purview per Clause 17 to exercise legislative authority to disallow it.

  17. Steve Kubby says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    CONGRESS JUST LEGALIZED MED MJ

    Congress didn’t just overlook the DC vote, it outlawed it for ten years. Then, after thwarting the will of District voters for more than a decade, Congress has finally decided it is no longer going to stand in the way of effective relief for D.C. residents who struggle with chronic ailments.

    The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution upholds the right of every American to equal protection of the laws for all states and for the federal government.

    Now that Congress has finally decided to allow the voters of DC to use cannabis medicinally, we must ask, how can Congress allow voters in DC to use cannabis for medical purposes, but NOT allow other states to enjoy the same freedom from federal law?

  18. John says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Steve, you are absolutely right, now why don’t you go tell the local FBI that you brought in 10.1 lbs of weed from Nevada.

  19. Steve Kubby says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Nothing in this most recent action by Congress allows for anyone to take cannabis across a state border. Cannabis remains a controlled substance which is illegal to possess under federal law. The most recent exception that was created by Congress only applies if you are using cannabis for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician and in accordance with state law.

  20. Laketoohigh says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Making marijuana legal will have the same effects that ending alcohol prohibition had. Some people will lose money, others will make money. At this point, that’s what it all boils down to. Who gets paid. People will use whatever to alter reality. Marijuana seems safer than most options. What is really sad is that people in our society feel that they should have the final say in how others should be able make decisions concerning their own being. Drugs, abortions, assisted end of life, the morning after pill, sexual orientations etc etc. The saddest part of all is they want to have this control over others simply to make money. One way or the other it’s all about the money. Seriously Mr. Kubby, how involved would you be if there was no chance to make a dime off legalization. They have their talking points and you have yours. Too bad it’s all about money.
    “and the man in the suit has just bought a new car with the profit he’s made off your dreams.”

  21. Kathy says - Posted: June 15, 2013

    Lets get to the facts, M,J, seems to help a lot of patients that have cancer ,or going though any disease,They say they are finding out good things about pot, The medicine we get at the pharmacies are so over loaded with pills ,that it seems to me ,it shows there is a lot of people with problems health ways ,and keeps taking pills or medicine over and over again,So why not legalize it and get it over with , Its all medicine for all who are sick, If it helps you what do you have to loose ? It is out in the open ,and it is what it is, Lets figure out the money ,What is cheaper ? pharmacies, or pot?