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STEVE ELLIOTT

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A Nevada lawmaker said it’s time to provide safe access to that state’s medical marijuana patients, and he’s doing something about it. State Senator Tick Segerblom said he will introduce a measure to allow medicinal cannabis dispensaries.

Even though Nevada voters approved medical marijuana back in 2000 with an overwhelming 65 percent of the vote — the biggest victory medicinal cannabis has ever recorded at the ballot box — the only way patients can now access pot is to grow it themselves, reports Tate South at CBS Las Vegas.

The voters approved an amendment to the Nevada State Constitution, legalizing marijuana for medicinal use and instructing the lawmakers: “The Legislature shall provide by law for … appropriate methods for supply of the plant to patients authorized to use it. The Legislature never did so.

Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom: "Quote"
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Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom is introducing a bill to allow safe access for state medical marijuana patients

Patients are faced with a situation where it’s legal to have and use cannabis — as long as it doesn’t come from anywhere. It’s still illegal to sell or buy medical marijuana in Nevada.

Authorized patients would have access to dispensaries under Sen. Segerblom’s plan, with the shops being regulated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

One unique feature of Sen. Segerblom’s plan is that it would allow Nevadans to get medical marijuana from dispensaries in neighboring California, while putting an unspecified tax on it. As innovative as that is, that provision would likely also attract the unhealthy attention of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, since marijuana would be crossing state lines.

The Nevada Supreme Court is expected to rule on the state’s current medical marijuana law, which leaves patients without safe access.

On his last day on the bench, District Judge Donald Mosley, who retired a year ago at age 65, issued a stern condemnation of Nevada’s lack of safe access for medical marijuana patients, calling it “ridiculous” and “absurd,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In so doing, Judge Mosley dismissed a “drug trafficking” charge against Nathan Hamilton and Leonard Schwingdorf, both of whom worked at a medical marijuana dispensary that supplied cannabis to patients who are unable to grow it themselves.

“It is apparent to the Court that the statutory scheme set out for the lawful distribution of medical marijuana is either poorly contemplated or purposely constructed to frustrate the implementation of constitutionally mandated access to the substance,” Judge Mosley wrote.

That case is the one currently being appealed to the Supreme Court.

The only way an authorized patient can now legally possess marijuana in Nevada is to commit a crime to obtain it, said defense attorney Bob Draskovich, whose firm represented both Hamilton and Schwingdorf.

Police and prosecutors still consider it a crime for a dispensary to grow more than seven marijuana plants, or to charge anything at all for their cannabis.

“Judge Mosley found those restrictions ridiculous,” the Review-Journal wrote in an op-ed. “And Judge Mosley was right… Government must stop fighting the will of the voters.”

 

 

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