Sunday, March 24, 2013

High Time... to Act on Medical Marijuana?

On Friday, something amazing happened. Nevada legislators actually toured a medical marijuana dispensary. And they toured one in Arizona! Why?



Arizona is still early in the process of opening dispensaries. Sen. Tick Segerblom [D-Las Vegas] of Nevada said there are concerns in Nevada that opening dispensaries there could open room for abuse, especially by minors.

“I figure that if Arizona can do it — the most conservative state in the country — there’s no reason that Nevada can’t do it,” Segerblom said.

Four Nevada senators and an assembly member visited Arizona Organix on Friday, then traveled to the state Capitol to meet with Arizona legislators.

Bill Myer, an owner and director at Arizona Organix, called the visit “fantastic.” He showed visitors cultivation facilities and varied security measures.

“They were taking notes fast and furiously,” Myer said.

As we discussed on Friday, Segerblom introduced SB 374 to address this legal contradiction. Under the Nevada Constitution, patients are allowed to use medical marijuana... But there's currently no way to legally obtain it other than growing it oneself. And not everyone can operate a marijuana farm. And even those who grow their own marijuana face challenges because there's an arbitrary one ounce limit and no legal way to access seeds.

And now, there's another reason why legislators will need to take on SB 374 and this overall issue. Also on Friday, the ACLU filed suit against the state.

In a brief filed Friday with the Nevada Supreme Court, the ACLU says the law makes criminals of people “who make reasonable efforts” to obtain medical marijuana. While medical marijuana is legal in Nevada, it cannot legally be purchased. [...]

The ACLU brief supports the decision of Clark County District Court Judge Donald Mosley, who ruled the Nevada law invalid in the case of two men indicted in connection with the operation of a nonprofit co-op to dispense the drug.

“There is no practical way to obtain medical marijuana in the state of Nevada,” said Katrina M. Ross, staff attorney for the ACLU in Las Vegas. She noted that in 1998 voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow a person, upon the advice of a physician, to obtain medical marijuana for use in a variety of illnesses, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV and multiple sclerosis.

The brief says the two men indicted by a Clark County grand jury “were prosecuted for behavior that is constitutionally protected.”

After Mosley dismissed the indictment, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which has not yet set a hearing date.

I had a feeling this was coming. It was likely inevitable. Again, the problem lies in the contradiction in Nevada law. While patients have the right to medical marijuana treatment under the Nevada Constitution, the Clark County DA's office and other prosecutors are using the lack of clarity on how to access that treatment to actually prosecute patients seeking treatment and retailers providing that treatment.

Last year, two Clark County judges issued contradictory rulings while Metro & the DA's office ordered raids into medical marijuana providers. Again, this is supposed to be legal medicine under the Nevada Constitution! Yet instead, patients & providers live in fear of police raids, arrests, prosecutions, and costly law suits. Something must change.

And that's why #NVLeg can no longer ignore this issue. In the past, it was dismissed as a simple laughing matter. Even last week, some legislators were joking about "joint committee", "natural resources committee", and "high court". Yet while those legislators were joking and snickering, real people were likely being harassed by police and the DA's office over what's supposed to be legal medicine.

So something must change. Perhaps this convergence of issues & stories will finally force the Nevada Legislature to act. That, after all, seems to be par for the course in Carson City.

2 comments:

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  2. Please Help Local Nevada Growers to Keep Their Right and Keep Growing – Change or Defeat SB 374!!!


    The poorly thought out Senate Bill 374 is slowly moving through Nevada’s inefficient legislative process and we have ONLY 2 WEEKS to persuade the sponsors to remove the amendment that will make home growing illegal or ask Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Judicial Committee to NOT PASS the bill as it is written.

    The bill wants to allow for dispensaries to open but makes personal home cultivation illegal.

    Please help!!! We are running out of time. A slot was done and our outrage was heard and responded to, but we need more voices to be heard!!! We NEED to send as many emails as possible to the email addresses of the both committees’ members (listed below) and urge them to NOT pass this unconstitutional bill that will marginalize law abiding patients and cut their access to the medication all together since they will no longer be able to afford it, as dispensary prices will have hefty fees on top of high prices.

    Please write short, effective but polite letters (rudeness and anger will only work against us at these crucial last weeks) to the addresses below and urge them NOT TO PASS THIS BILL until the NO GROW Amendment is REMOVED!

    Judy.Molnar@asm.state.nv.us , James.Ohrenschall@asm.state.nv.us, Richard.Carrillo@asm.state.nv.us, Lesley.Cohen@asm.state.nv.us, Olivia.Diaz@asm.state.nv.us, Marilyn.DonderoLoop@asm.state.nv.us, Andrew.Martin@asm.state.nv.us, Ellen.Spiegel@asm.state.nv.us, Tyrone.Thompson@asm.state.nv.us, Wesley.Duncan@asm.state.nv.us, Michele.Fiore@asm.state.nv.us, Ira.Hansen@asm.state.nv.us, Jim.Wheeler@asm.state.nv.us, Joyce.Woodhouse@sen.state.nv.us, David.Parks@sen.state.nv.us, Debbie.Smith@sen.state.nv.us, Moises.Denis@sen.state.nv.us, Ben.Kieckhefer@sen.state.nv.us, Michael.Roberson@sen.state.nv.us, Pete.Goicoechea@sen.state.nv.us

    ALSO Please contact the bill’s sponsors and ask them to RECONSIDER the no grow amendment and REWRITE THE BILL at the following addresses:
    tsegerblom@sen.state.nv.us, Heidi.Swank@asm.state.nv.us, Mark.Manendo@sen.state.nv.us, Mark.Hutchison@sen.state.nv.us, Joe.Hogan@asm.state.nv.us, Paul.Aizley@asm.state.nv.us

    And last but not the least PLEASE leave an ‘AGAINST’ comment here:

    https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/77th2013/A/

    (you can view existing comments here http://www.leg.state.nv.us/AppCF/Opinion/77th2013/vwComments.cfm
    Just type sb374 in the window and click submit)


    Right now EVERY EMAIL COUNTS! SO send emails, call, ask your friends to do the same. We need to show that we will not just lay down and die. We ARE AGAINST this measure and NEED TO KNOW that!!!

    Together we can WIN!!!

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