Dozens of people showed up for a meeting to discuss how to change state law. In Nevada, people authorized to use medical marijuana are allowed to have one ounce on them at all times. But there's no legal way to actually get it, besides growing it themselves.
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided several medical marijuana dispensaries for, they claimed, selling cannabis to patients. The clinics are only licensed to consult with patients, according to the DEA, and advise them on how to grow and use marijuana. They're not specifically allowed by the language of Nevada's medical marijuana law to provide cannabis.
"The raids did not affect me personally, but I do know of some fellow patients who have to rely on stores like that to get their marijuana," said Terry Piper, a Gulf War veteran who grows his own marijuana to treat a back injury.
The meeting took place at the Bluebird Coffee Shop, just northeast of Sahara. The Bluebird has only been open for three weeks, and is one of only a few businesses of its kind in the country. Authorized medical marijuana patients can legally smoke in a separate room inside.
"We're a peaceful community," said patient David McDonough, who suffers from heel spurs. "People with alcohol do a lot more damage than pot smokers do. It's much safer than going to the black market and out in bad neighborhoods."
That's why patients want medical marijuana to be made more accessible.
"It would keep it out of the drug dealers' hands, and put it into a everyday light," Piper said.
Right next door in California, buying medical marijuana from a dispensary is legal. But people in Las Vegas who travel there to get it, risk being arrested for crossing state lines with "illegal drugs."