Could medical marijuana dispensaries dot the landscape between the casinos of Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada? That's what one Nevada state senator is hoping to accomplish this session with a bill that would legalize medical marijuana centers in that state.
Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom.
Las Vegas democrat Tick Segerblom says Nevada should have medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the roughly 3,650 legal medical marijuana patients in that state and is working on a proposal that would create state-regulated, private, for-profit dispensaries much like in Colorado.
Segerblom tells us at Toke of the Town that he became interested in how Colorado was regulating dispensaries after seeing news specials on CNN and 60 Minutes. He says it only makes sense considering "I like the way they have it tightly regulated," he said. "It seems like a perfect model in that everything is monitored and there doesn't seem to be anything going out the back door."
He says his bill will be modeled after Colorado dispensary laws, notably the part that allows communities and municipalities to outright ban medical marijuana businesses in that state. Colorado law also stipulates that all marijuana dispensaries must grow their own cannabis and allows them to purchase up to 30 percent of their total stock from another registered marijuana dispensary. Segerblom says his bill will follow those guidelines as well as hand over enforcement of dispensary laws to the state's gaming licensing department.
Segerblom announced his intentions last Friday after a Senate Judiciary Committee was told that the state isn't meeting it's obligation to voters who passed medical marijuana laws more than 12 years ago. Nevada has had medical marijuana laws on the books since 2001, though stipulations in the amendment called for the state to create a method for patients to obtain their meds. Currently, patients can grow for themselves or designate a caregiver to cultivate up to seven plants on their behalf. Only three of those plants can be in flower at any time. Patients may only possess up to an ounce of cannabis at a time. But as Segerblom points out, there technically isn't anywhere a patient can legally get medicine - even purchasing seeds is technically illegal, he points out.
The bill is in thd drafting phase, according to Segerblom, who says it could be ready any time in the next few weeks. He says that so far his proposal has been pretty popular with his constituents and colleagues in the legislature. "The proof will be in the pudding when people finally see the bill," he said. "But our constitution says the state shall make it available to patients with cards. How can we have a system that says you can get a card, pay for a card, and then not get your medicine legally anywhere?"