According to Segerblom, a Democrat from Las Vegas, if Arizona - arguably one of the most conservative states in the country - can not only pass medical marijuana laws but implement a state-regulated dispensary program, then so can Nevada. The trip is his way of convincing legislators to support Segerblom's Senate Bill 374 which would allow for medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada.
According to the Las Vega Sun, Segerblom and a quartet of bipartisan lawmakers paid their way to visit to inspect grow houses, medical marijuana centers and talk with patients. While he admits to having used cannabis in the past, Segerblom was blown away by the dispensary-quality herb he saw. "I've never seen bud that good," he told the Sun. Other lawmakers were complete newbies to marijuana, or so they say.
Las Vegas Republican Sen. Scott Hammond says he never tried pot, but did make it to a Grateful Dead show once (Editor's note: really!?!). Others say they
"I want to learn more about these medical marijuana dispensaries," Kihuen said before the trip. "If it's a bill that we're going to consider here in the Legislature, in order for us to make an informed decision, we have to go out there to other states and see how they're doing it."
Nevada currently is struggling with implementing their existing program, which one judge has deemed unconstitutional in a case involving two men charged with illegally dispensing marijuana through a medical co-op last year.
Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom.
The state's medical marijuana law, which was passed in 2001, called for the state to create a method by which patients could legally obtain cannabis. Currently, patients are allowed to grow for themselves or designate a caregiver to grow for them - but there technically hasn't been anywhere legal for patients and caregivers to even get the seeds or clones to begin with. Last Friday the ACLU also spoke out against the current law and called for reform.
Segerblom's bill needs two-thirds support from the legislature to move through, which he says might be difficult given marijuana's stigma.
"Realistically, the problem is that when you use the word marijuana, a lot of politicians get very skittish and think that somehow or other they're endorsing smoking marijuana, which they're not," Segerblom told the Sun. "The key to this whole thing in my opinion is that there is no marijuana going to people other than people who have cards."
Arizona lawmakers also have outright legalization to consider this session. Assembly Bill 402 would legalize up to an ounce for personal use and possession as well as allow for state-regulated marijuana retail sales.