Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Time to FULLY Legalize Medical Marijuana, Once & for All.

Apparently, the Affordable Care Act isn't the only health care problem facing our fine state. There's another problem emerging, one that's causing quite a scene at court. Can you smell it?

On one hand, the state officially allows for medicinal use of cannibis, which is more commonly referred to as marijuana. But on the other hand, police are still arresting people for doing such. What's going on here?

The key problem here is that despite the state's legal approval of the use of medical marijuana, there's no legal route to obtain it. So how are patients supposed to access the medicine they need? Why should they fear police harassment, and even arrest? Is medical marijuana really legal here?

This is what's wrong. So what can be done to make it right? That's what the courts have been struggling with. And that's why the Legislature may finally step in.

Well, and there may be another reason. Hint: Jackpot!

Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat running for the 3rd District seat in the state Senate, said he has directed the legislative research staff to draft a bill that would license dispensaries to buy or grow marijuana legally and sell it legally to Nevada residents with state medical marijuana cards.

“We’re still working on the mechanics of it,” Segerblom said.

The research staff is looking at laws that license dispensaries in Colorado and Arizona to provide something similar in Nevada, he said. Most likely, people who get state medical marijuana cards would be able to buy up to an ounce, he said.

Segerblom said he also has directed the research staff to determine what that change in the law would mean for state revenue.

Currently, there are about 3,500 people who purchase a medical marijuana card for $150 a year, which brings in about $525,000 to the state. If dispensaries made marijuana more easily available, more people would get cards, generating more revenue for the state, he said.

There is also the possibility of taxing those who grow and sell marijuana, he said.

“The reality is, it is going to be a multimillion-dollar revenue source,” he said. “We need to look at all avenues to bring in money for the general fund.”

That's why I'm surprised that this hasn't been resolved sooner. After all, the state stands to gain revenue if it implements a proper system to buy and sell medical marijuana. Certainly, it makes more fiscal sense than arresting people and clogging up our courts and jails with frivolous marijuana related criminal charges.

Patients have legitimate reasons to use cannibis as medicine. And technically, the state sanctions this. So why are we still seeing arrests and criminal trials for this? It's past time to cut the crap and fix this problem.

This time, the Legislature needs to take this issue head on and let patients obtain their medicine once and for all. Again, Nevada will actually GAIN revenue by doing as our next door neighbors California and Arizona already do in licensing legal dispensaries and other legal providers. And ultimately, the state will save money in negating the need for continued law suits and the loophole that allows police to arrest and the DA's office to prosecute people for medical marijuana related activities.

Seriously, we're just over halfway through 2012. Why are we still talking about this?

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