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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Proposal establishes taxes that will be directed toward education and implementation of the regulatory system

Advocates are hopeful Gov. Sandoval – who has said he is open to the idea of medical marijuana dispensaries – will sign the bill into law

Nevada state lawmakers on Monday approved a measure to establish a state-regulated system of dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to licensed patients. The bill must receive a final procedural vote today in the Senate, where it previously received strong support, before being transmitted to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature. The governor has said he is open to dispensary legislation.

“Nevadans with serious illnesses who are using medical marijuana under the supervision of their doctors should have a safe and legal way to obtain it,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We applaud the Nevada Legislature for taking action to protect patients and promote a safer and healthier state for their constituents.

“We are hopeful that Gov. Sandoval will join legislators and the voters of Nevada in supporting a system of state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries that is long overdue,” O’Keefe said. “Regulating medical marijuana works.”

Karen O'Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project: "Quote" [MPP]
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Karen O’Keefe, Marijuana Policy Project:
“Regulating medical marijuana works.”
[MPP]

SB 374, introduced by Senators Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) and Mark Hutchison (R-Las Vegas), establishes rules and regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, infused product manufacturers, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities. In addition to standard sales taxes, medical marijuana will be subject to excise taxes of 2 percent on wholesale sales and 2 percent on retail sales, of which 75 percent will be directed to education and 25 percent will be directed toward implementing and enforcing the regulations.

Nevada voters approved a constitutional amendment, Question 9, by a margin of 59-41 in 1998 and again by 65-35 in 2000. It required the Legislature to set up a medical marijuana program that includes appropriate methods of supplying medical marijuana to qualified patients.

Currently, patients must grow their own marijuana or have it grown for them by a physician-approved caregiver substantially responsible for caring for them. There is no legal, approved way to get seeds. In 2012, Clark County District Judge Donald Mosley dismissed charges against two medical marijuana providers and called the state’s current system “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and unconstitutional.

State-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries are currently operating in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. They are expected to begin operating this summer in Washington, D.C. and Vermont, and the rule-making process for dispensaries is underway in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Eighteen states and D.C. allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. The Illinois General Assembly adopted medical marijuana legislation in May that, if signed by the governor, will establish a system of state-regulated dispensaries, and the New Hampshire Legislature is likely to adopt similar legislation this month.

 

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