12 plus years after Nevada politicians passed legislation enabling state authorized medical marijuana patients to have free and unfettered access to nature’s medicine– cannabis. Nevada has moved one step closer to allowing state sanctioned dispensaries and grow operations. Having passed the second to last hurdle with a 17 – 4 vote, the bill now goes before the Assembly.
With 3 and 0 record in the Senate; SB 374 smoked passed the Senate Judiciary committee in mid-April, and got the ‘thumbs up’ from the Senate Finance Committee late Tuesday afternoon. While some senators expressed reservation, Gov. Brian Sandoval has stated “as long as it is prescribed by a physician,” he would have no issue with signing SB 374, which would permit up to 40 marijuana dispensaries in Clark County… Up to 10 mmj collectives in Washoe County, in addition to providing one dispensary for each rural County in the state of Nevada.
The bill, however, still must go through hearings and a vote in the Assembly before being sent to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature, and the Legislature adjourns at midnight Monday.
The drug could be sold only to Nevadans who have state-authorized medical marijuana cards, who number 3,785 right now. A doctors’ authorization would be required for them to use medical marijuana for treatment of AIDS, pain, cancer, nausea and illnesses.
State voters in 1998 and 2000 approved a constitutional amendment to allow Nevadans to have access to medical marijuana, even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
The Legislature in 2001 passed an enabling law allowing authorized medical marijuana patients to grow as many as seven plants each. But District Judge Don Mosley ruled last year that the law was unconstitutional because it did not provide many patients a reasonable way to acquire marijuana.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, then drew up the dispensary bill.
While the bill would remove the right of patients to grow their own marijuana, he said he wants the Assembly to put that back in and give only existing patients the right to grow marijuana.
Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, noted he is a conservative who voted against the medical marijuana amendment, but supports the dispensary bill. He argued that unlike California, Nevada will regulate dispensaries in an appropriate manner.
“It doesn’t matter what I think about the wisdom of using marijuana,” Hutchison said. “But if you believe in the rule of law, we cannot pick which constitutional rights we should support.”
Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said that as a medical doctor he has prescribed “Marinol,” the chemical, pill version of marijuana, to his patients, but opposed the bill.
Because Marinol is available by prescription, Hardy said medical marijuana is not needed.
“And besides, smoking is bad for you,” he added.
Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, backed the bill but said he was concerned about removal of the grow-your-own language. He said some or his constituents cannot afford the expected $400-an-ounce cost.
Also voting no were Republican Sens. Barbara Cegavske of Las Vegas, Don Gustavson of Sparks and James Settelmeyer of Minden.