Monday, June 3, 2013

Finally, High Times?

Earlier today, we saw plenty of confusion over the messy rejection of SB 374... Until it suddenly wasn't a rejection. It turned out to be a procedural hiccup. And now, it's back on track.

The Democratic majority had delayed the vote in the Assembly until Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, who is being treated for cancer, was well enough to participate.

The surprise apparent defeat of the measure sent lawmakers scurrying to figure out why the vote went wrong.

It was quickly determined that the original vote was correct, but the board displayed it improperly.

A second vote was taken and the measure passed without issue.

"I've seen how medical marijuana has touched many people's lives," Assemblyman Andy Martin, D-Las Vegas, said. "I urge its passage."

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was the lone Republican to back the measure.

SB 374 passed 28-14. As mentioned above, Fiore was the lone Republican to side with all Assembly Democrats to pass the bill. The bill fixes a glitch in current Nevada law that allows overzealous police officers to conduct raids and arrest patients seeking medical marijuana and providers offering the medicine. It sets up dispensaries to safely sell medical marijuana.

Of course, this can't solve the matter of federal marijuana laws. But so far, other states are moving forward with their own respective regimes regardless of the federal definition of cannabis. And even though Nevada voters approved of medical marijuana in 2000, the spirit of that voter approved law will finally be honored and be given the chance to move forward this year.

The bill now heads to Governor Brian Sandoval's (R) desk. He's been playing coy about it so far. But considering the overwhelming support this bill has received in the Legislature and the legal trouble the state will run into if this bill doesn't become law, does he really want to play another silly veto game here?

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