Nevada’s medical marijuana program continues to grow as voters eye legalization
Last update: July 26, 2016
The state’s medical marijuana program continues its rapid growth. As of July 2016, about 18,600 patients were registered in the program — a figure that has doubled in the last 12 months. State officials attribute the growth to the availability of regulated dispensaries, many of which started operations in 2015 and earlier this year. The department indicated earlier this year that it adds around 300 patients each month and estimated the program may grow to as many as 60,000 patients.
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 last year and is not meeting this year. But Nevada voters will consider the Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana on November 8.
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.
Thank you for supporting MPP. To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Nevada, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.