After more than a dozen years of waiting, Nevada medical marijuana patients will have a legal way to purchase the drug without being forced to grow it themselves.
In this, our Nevada marijuana lawyers understand that the state has become the 14th in the country to approve marijuana dispensaries. It was already among 19 in the nation (plus the District of Columbia) to allow medical marijuana use.
SB 374 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval shortly after the measure passed by a 28-14 in the state’s Assembly. The action came swiftly, as it passed less than a week earlier in the Senate by a vote of 17-4 and had to obtain passage in the Assembly before the year’s session closed. It was approved by the Assembly just hours before the midnight deadline.
The law allows for the establishment of state oversight for medical marijuana dispensaries throughout. It caps the number of dispensaries per region by population. In Las Vegas, for example, there will be a maximum of 40 medical marijuana dispensaries allowed. In Reno, the state will sanction 20 medical marijuana dispensaries. And in Carson City, there will be a total of two allowed. One will be allowed for each of the rural counties in the state.
It’s noteworthy that many of the lawmakers expressed personal opposition to medical marijuana, they felt it important to uphold the while of the people.
Since medical marijuana was first approved in Nevada in 2000 by a vote of 65 percent, patients have found themselves in a legal gray area.There was no provision in that law authorizing the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries. A great number of patients are so ill that they are unable to grow it for themselves. As such, they have had to rely on others to provide their medicine. That has left many confused about whether their marijuana purchases have been illegal or not.
They knew that they or their caregivers were allowed to grow up to seven plants or up to an ounce of marijuana. But Nevada’s arid desert conditions were not conducive to the intensive process needed to grow the plant. Plus, obtaining cannabis seeds is illegal under state law.
There are a total of about 3,600 registered marijuana patients in the state, and lawmakers agreed their access to the drug was severely limited. Most of those who are registered are between the ages of 55 and 64.
SB 374, which was introduced in March by the state’s Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, will serve to regulate dispensaries that provide services to those patients. Under this measure, the Department of Health and Human Services will be the agency to provide the oversight. Growers will be required to cultivate the drug in facilities that are secure, enclosed and locked.
The law also requires 24-7 video surveillance at both dispensaries and farms, establishes a cap on fees charged by the Health Division. Basic guidelines for dispensary owners are set forth, though the division is given the option of adopting any future regulation as necessary.
The law increases the amount of marijuana patients and caregivers can possess and grow and lays the groundwork for safeguards to help against fraud..
Lawmakers say this was a step they should have taken more than a decade ago, and pointed to successful dispensary regulation programs in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state.
The Nevada CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Nevada Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, June 3, 2013, Nevada Marijuana Lawyer Blog
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