Nevada’s medical marijuana regulations bear fruit, with legalization on the horizon for voters
Last update: September 8, 2015
Two years after the Nevada Legislature passed a law allowing regulated dispensaries and cultivators to serve the state’s medical marijuana patients, the system is finally rolling out. So far, at least two dispensaries have opened, with dozens to follow across the state. Meanwhile, cultivators and processors are working overtime to meet demand. This modest but important phase is a huge step to providing help to the state’s seriously ill patients, as well as those medical marijuana patients visiting Nevada.
Meanwhile, a campaign to bring legalization for adults 21 and over is underway in the Silver State. Initiative Petition 1, which would tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol, has been certified for the 2016 ballot. Unfortunately, the Nevada Legislature missed an opportunity to adopt the measure this year, but Nevada voters will consider the Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana in November of next year.
Please take a moment to “like” Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada on Facebook so that the campaign can keep you posted as the ballot initiative campaign gets underway. While polls show strong public support, we can’t take victory for granted. We’ll need your help to get the word out and run a strong campaign. The website for the campaign in support of the measure is located at www.RegulateMarijuanaInNevada.org, and it is a great location for the latest updates — so be sure to check it out!
How do medical marijuana patients visiting Nevada get access while in the state?
One of the positive features of Nevada’s medical marijuana law is that the state recognizes the patient status of non-residents who are qualified under their state government’s laws. Current rules require out-of-state visiting patients to visit a Nevada dispensary to sign an affidavit and receive instructions from dispensary staff in order to be protected. At that point, state law will protect qualified visitors who make purchases at state-licensed stores.
For updates on the status of the department’s roll out including news and valuable links, visit the Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health’s website. Agency rules adopted in April can be found here.
Learn about Nevada’s marijuana laws
Nevada is one of the 20 states that have decriminalized personal use marijuana possession. Four of those states, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon, have adopted laws that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Although Nevada is considered a “decriminalization” state, simple possession of marijuana can still be treated harshly. First offense possession of up to an ounce is punishable by a $600 fine instead of jail time, but it remains a misdemeanor. The individual is subject to arrest and drug addiction screening that could lead to mandatory treatment and rehabilitation, and a criminal conviction can lead to a lifetime of discrimination which can limit job opportunities and housing options. A second offense carries a $1,000 fine and drug addiction screening. The penalties for third and fourth offenses continue to worsen. Incredibly, possession of two ounces could land a Nevadan in jail for four years.
There were still over 8,500 marijuana-related arrests or citations in Nevada in 2012, and 85% of them were for marijuana possession. That same year, nearly 90% of reported burglaries, including home invasions, and over 92% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Law enforcement should stop wasting time and resources on failed marijuana prohibition policies, particularly when most Americans now agree marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.
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