Thursday, March 20, 2014

Long Road

The past nine months have certainly not been dull. They haven't been easy, either. After a surprising wait, SB 374 became law. Yet even as it became law, medical marijuana still wasn't legally available yet because several municipal governments throughout Nevada were refusing to allow dispensaries within their boundaries.

Finally this month, a breakthrough occurred when Clark County announced its plan to approve zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. That pretty much guaranteed that dispensaries will finally open soon in Nevada's most populous county. And it set an encouraging precedent for other municipal governments to follow.

And now, the Clark County Commission has finally cleared the way for dispensary applications to begin circulating by approving regulations. And just hours before the Clark County Commission approved its new medical marijuana dispensary regulations, the Las Vegas City Council finally directed city staff to begin drafting its own dispensary regulations. The City of Las Vegas had been the biggest municipal government to resist any allowance of medical marijuana, but yesterday the City Council finally came around to approving dispensaries.

So after nine months of regulatory delays and legal brawls, SB 3374 is finally on track for full implementation. And after thirteen years of legal wrangling, police raids, and plenty of confusion all around, the will of the people is finally starting to be recognized...

But this fight is still far from over. Patients still face immense hurdles as they try to access the medicine they need. Even as Clark County and Las Vegas City make progress in adopting new regulations, medical marijuana can not yet be legally obtained anywhere in Southern Nevada.

The road to legal medical marijuana in Nevada has been quite long. And it's been quite difficult at times. And we're still far from the end of it. But at least today, it looks like we're moving in the right direction. Perhaps this long road will finally take us somewhere.

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