Nevada Medical Marijuana Collective Bill: SB 374 Passes The Senate 17– 4


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.



About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.


  1. What wrong with these people why 12+ yrs would you allow a state to ignore a vote. I hate Nv and these dummies who rather see folks taken there dope pills that cause bleeding loss of sight and so many adverse things.

  2. Homegrown Activist Group Fights For Patients Rights In The Battle To Reform Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Laws
    WECAN quietly scores an impressive string of concessions by NV Legislators
    Las Vegas – May 30, 2013 – Without the flash, cash or staff of national advocacy groups, a group of local Las Vegans are standing up on behalf of thousands of Nevada medical cannabis patients and scoring some substantial victories in the decade long struggle to reform Nevada’s flawed medical marijuana laws. Since its initial passage in 2001, NRS 453a has been decried by patient rights advocates as not fulfilling the mandate of the Constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1998 and 2000.
    During this session in Carson City, the Wellness Education Cannabis Advocates of Nevada (WECAN), working with a core group of dedicated supporters have alternatively worked with and badgered members of the state Legislature to pass Senate Bill 374 with the state’s medical cannabis patients as the priority of focus. The bill passed the Nevada Senate yesterday. For a group with no organizational history or budget, some of the changes they’ve made in the bill are significant.
    “Most lawmakers have consistently denied any knowledge of or personal experience with marijuana and yet feel that they perfectly understand the nuances of its medical application and how best to regulate it,” said WECAN president Jennifer Solas. “Patients in the state felt otherwise, and that it was important to keep the spotlight focused on patient needs rather than business or law enforcement concerns.”
    Among the changes that WECAN successfully lobbied for in the bill are:
    • A residency requirement for business establishment so that the industry would be developed by Nevadans with the proceeds funding the local economy
    • An increase in the initial licensing of dispensaries in the state from 10 to 65
    • Reciprocity that will include not only card-carrying medical marijuana patients from other states but documented patients from “other jurisdictions” as well, meaning Canadians and other international tourists can be included
    • Establishing training requirements for those involved in the dispensing of cannabinoid medications to the patient base
    • Including surety bonds into the concept of liquid assets to meet the bill’s imposed $150,000 threshold for entry into the dispensary business so that middle class entrepreneurs and not just the wealthy could take part in this emerging industry
    • Requiring that all meds including bud, edibles, topical and oils be produced in-state
    • Redefining where meds in a dispensary could be stored, so that they could be displayed for patients rather than being locked away in a safe
    After the introduction of the original bill, an amendment was introduced at the request of law enforcement agencies which stripped away the ability of patients to be self-sufficient and produce their own cannabis, after a dozen years of state mandate that they do exactly that. WECAN mobilized the community which threatened to publicly pull support from the bill, if those patients who have already spent thousands of dollars on equipment were not permitted to retain their ability to grow their own. A compromise was reached wherein existing patients would be grandfathered in for two years while a newly formed subcommittee would study the issue and make recommendations for the next legislative session to continue the reform started this year.
    As happens to many bills, this one nearly died in committee. Senate Finance Committee chair Debbie Smith was hostile to the issue and sat on the bill for weeks, until a concentrated phone and letter barrage from patients directed by WECAN was able to convince her to grant the bill a hearing and allowed it to move forward towards passage.
    The bill now moves into the Assembly in the waning days of the session, and the group has refocused its attention on the Assembly Judiciary Committee, where the next hearing will take place. They plan to testify and hope to nudge a few more last minute adjustments before the bill is passed.
    The group’s website provides a wealth of patient information and they already have almost 15,000 followers on FaceBook. As this session in Carson City winds down, WECAN is already planning a follow-up series of events and meetings through the summer and fall to help patients and business people navigate the new regulations.
    “All of a sudden, outside money is starting to pour into Nevada in anticipation of this new economy. Our focus remains on how to make this program work for Nevadans, both compassionately and economically,” said WECAN board member and long-time activist Michael McAuliffe. “To that end, we’ll be launching a series of seminars for entrepreneurs and patients on how to take part in this new, green industry. We know that our history with the state program and our close association with legislators in this reform process make us more knowledgeable about the new law and better qualified to teach this subject than anyone jumping in from California or Colorado seeking to make a quick buck.”
    Over the years local activists have joined various national groups like NORML, Marijuana Policy Project and Americans for Safe Access, only to find those groups unfamiliar with or unwilling to traverse the political landscape of the Silver State. After the national organizations ignored the federal raids which crushed the nascent dispensary industry that arose in 2010 out of patient frustration with the Legislature’s refusal to deal with the issue, McAuliffe and Solas, at that time ASA-Nevada committee members retrenched and started again. Along with ASA member Vicki Higgins, the trio created WECAN.
    In March of 2012, District Judge Donald Mosley, on his last day on the bench, threw out the cases against the owners of Sin City Co-op, a medical cannabis dispensary, calling sections of NRS 453a “absurd” and declaring parts of the law unconstitutional. The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which has not yet issued a decision, but the activity caused serious consideration by several lawmakers, foremost among them attorney Richard “Tick” Segerblom, who announced in a joint appearance with McAuliffe on KVBC’s Face To Face in July 2012 that he intended to introduce a bill that would allow dispensaries and the emergence of a diverse medical marijuana industry across the state. Discussions were already underway by advocates and shortly thereafter WECAN was formed.
    For more information, please contact Vicki Higgins at 702-521-2745 or Jennifer Solas at 702-767-7462.

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