Within the last year, Nevada has acquired two professional sports teams and legalized the recreational use of marijuana. While the reaction to the new sports market has been mostly positive, the same does not apply regarding the legalization of marijuana. Let’s take a look at the history of marijuana in Nevada.

Marijuana in Nevada

Marijuana has long been a controversial topic for Nevadans. It was first banned in 1923 as part of a nationwide effort to limit the use of Cannabis during the prohibition era.

Nearly 75 years later, in 1998, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act (Question 9) passed with a 59% approval. However, the initiative required approval in consecutive elections because it was an amendment to the state constitution. The legislation passed for a second time in 2000, with 65% of the vote. The Nevada Medical Marijuana act provided that patients may possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis as well as an amount of edible or infused products which are the “equivalent” of 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and grow a maximum of 12 usable cannabis plants. Cannabis was being tested and used to treat conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cancer, Auto Immune Diseases, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The approval of using Marijuana to treat these conditions was a major step forward, both medically and socially. While it was apparent that Nevadans understood the medical benefits of marijuana, the Nevada Medical Marijuana act failed to address how one would legally obtain medical cannabis.

History of Recreational Marijuana in Nevada

In 2002, Question 9 went before the voters with a proposal to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis, but was defeated at the polls. Legalized marijuana appeared on the ballot again in 2006 as the “Nevada Regulation of Marijuana Initiative.” The act posed the question of whether the Nevada Revised Statutes would be amended to allow and regulate the sale, use and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by persons at least 21 years of age, and impose regulations on marijuana retailers. It also questioned whether criminal penalties for causing death or substantial bodily harm when driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol would be considered. However, the initiative received only 44% of the vote, thus it failed.

Medical Marijuana Approval

In 2013, more than a decade after voters approved the Nevada medical marijuana act, the Nevada Legislature finally allowed for the sale of and regulated access to medical cannabis. The Nevada Senate approved a bill, which allowed the licensing of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries and made it legal to sell, grow, test, and tax marijuana.

The first medical marijuana facility in Nevada opened in Sparks on July 31, 2015. There are now more than 190 operating medical marijuana facilities in the state. In November 2016, Nevada voters narrowly approved the “Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana” making it one of eight states to have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. The measure legalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. However, the initiative did not include provisions for regulation beyond taxation, such as licensing retailers.

Recreational Marijuana Early Start Program

As of May 2017, Nevada has approved the “Early Start Program” which will allow for operational medical marijuana facilities in good standing to apply for a recreational license. On July 1st, eligible Nevada dispensaries can begin selling to adults 21 and over. The tax revenues from marijuana sales will be enormous for Nevada’s economy. Additionally, Governor Sandoval plans on applying the revenue from marijuana taxes to fund public education.

After almost a century of prohibition and controversy, Nevada legislation will finally lift the ban on the recreational use of marijuana. Nevada lawmakers are optimistic that the implementation of the new cannabis laws will prove to be profitable.

 

Last November, Nevadans voted yes on Question 2 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The ballot required the state to begin sales by January 1, 2018, but recently the Nevada Tax Commission approved temporary regulations that would allow businesses launch as early as July 1, 2017. The “early start” program’s proponents cite that there is a discrepancy in the new law because it is currently legal to possess marijuana, but not to purchase or sell marijuana. This has lead to an increase in sales by local black market dealers. Additionally, Nevada is depending on the estimated $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales to help fund public education, which we desperately need.

Who Will Be Allowed to Sell Marijuana for Recreational Use?

The only businesses eligible to participate in the early start program for recreational sale must already be established as medical marijuana facilities. The application period will begin in the middle of May and conclude at the end of the month. There will also be another short (5 day) application period that will take place later in the year. Nearly all of Nevada’s current 190 marijuana license holders are in good standing and are eligible to apply for a recreational license.

How Dispensaries Apply for a License

Applicants must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee of $5,000 plus a license fee of $20,000 for a retail store, $30,000 for a cultivation facility, $10,000 for a production and manufacturing facility, $15,000 for a testing facility and $15,000 for a marijuana distributor. Additionally, for the first 18 months of applications, only registered medical marijuana businesses can be accepted. Licenses that are issued during the early start period will only be valid until 90 after January 1, 2018.

What Does This Mean for Nevada?

The recreational marijuana industry is a huge opportunity, primarily for Las Vegas, to grow. In addition to the millions of dollars in tax revenue that the sale of recreational marijuana will provide, it will also increase tourism, as Nevada is now one of only eight states to have legal recreational marijuana use. New businesses mean more businesses, more businesses means more jobs, and more jobs means more money for the economy. Further, the regulation of the recreational marijuana industry will allow users easy access to medically tested and approved products while limiting the expansion of the black market which could lead to a reduction in drug related violence. It is an exciting time to be living in the entertainment capital of the world.

 

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Nevada, but expect plenty of catches, especially at first.

On November 8, 2016, Nevadans approved “Question 2” on their ballot by a margin of nine percent, effectively removing criminal penalties for possession of certain moderate amounts of marijuana and marijuana-derived concentrates. Yet, the legal ramifications of this development are far from cut-and-dry.

For one, Nevadans who do not currently have a prescription card for medical marijuana have no legal way to buy recreational marijuana at the moment. This issue and many others will make marijuana laws complicated for those who enjoy recreational smoking, especially in the immediate future.

To help clear some things up and make it easier for aspiring recreational marijuana users to know their rights, consider the following four important points about the New Nevada marijuana law.

You Can Only Possess a Certain Amount of Marijuana at a Time

The current cap is on an ounce of cured marijuana plant products or an eighth of an ounce of marijuana concentrate, like hash oil or “shatter.” Anyone found with amounts in excess of these limits on their person or within their private property may be subject to criminal penalties.

Only those 21 and older can legally possess marijuana.

You Can’t Buy Marijuana at Dispensaries Without an MMJ Card (Yet)

On January 1, 2017, the criminal penalties for holding certain amounts of marijuana products (see above) were relaxed. However, no one can legally sell you marijuana unless you have a prescription card. Legislators set themselves a deadline of January 1, 2018 to have regulations in place that should allow dispensaries to expand their clientele to non-MMJ card holders.

Many experts estimate that you could be able to buy marijuana recreationally by summer 2017.

Once medical dispensaries have their operations opened to all marijuana users, the state will then open the door to give licenses for dispensaries that did not exist before the new marijuana law went into effect. Expect a long process for regulations to be drafted and finalized, though.

You Cannot Grow Your Own Marijuana Unless You Live in a Rural Area

The new law permits growing your own marijuana only if you live more than 25 miles away from a marijuana dispensary. So, unless you live in rural areas, you are going to have to wait for regulations to allow medical dispensaries to expand their clientele.

For those who do live far away from a dispensary: the law allows up to six plants per person or 12 plants total per residence. And, naturally, selling the yield from these plants without a commercial license would be a felony. You can, however, give marijuana away as a gift to someone over 21 as long as they do not end up possessing more than the total legal limit.

You Cannot Drive Intoxicated or Smoke in Public

Driving while under the effects of marijuana, which can last up to a few hours, is still illegal and can potentially affect the outcome of criminal cases or insurance settlements if you are caught driving with a high concentration of THC in your system.

Smoking marijuana in public is likewise banned and can incur up to $600 in criminal fines. You also cannot smoke in a moving vehicle, even if you will not be driving.

Some expect smoking “cafes” to expand the ability to smoke in public to certain designated businesses, similar to a hookah lounge.

Nevada Marijuana Laws Are Only Going to Get More Complicated

Believe it or not, decriminalization does not automatically make life easier for marijuana users. Just as legal alcohol use can create many legal gray areas, those who use marijuana recreationally may find themselves subject to criminal or civil consequences if they do not maintain awareness of their rights and limitations.

If you face consequences for your marijuana use, never hesitate to exercise your rights. Consider appointing a knowledgeable Nevada marijuana law attorney to represent your case so that you can assert your side of the story and protect your legal rights as a citizen. Contact us now for a free consultation.

 

Transferring ownership of a business license and business holdings almost always presents challenges to both the buyer and seller. When adding medical marijuana operations, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state, into the mix, those challenges can become infinitely more complicated.

Luckily, these buyers and sellers can look to the services of an experienced medical marijuana business attorney to guide their sale and potentially smooth over any hitches they would have faced. More often than not, these parties will require that attorney’s representation throughout the entire process in order to satisfy and convince local hearings boards in regards to their intended activities.

Because of these potential obstacles, marijuana business license transfers could face any of the following complications before the sale is finalized:

Convincing Approval Committees

Most likely in an effort to appease local communities, the Nevada State Legislature baked in a tremendous amount of power for local cities and counties when it comes to approval of marijuana licenses, including their transferal.

For example, we wrote in a previous post that an existing medical marijuana business can only move to a new location if “it can be shown that the new location is more suitable than the previous location” to the satisfaction of the local approval committee.

Furthermore, cities like North Las Vegas utilize language in their regulatory ordinances stating that the laws will be construed to “protect the public over medical marijuana business interests.”
Therefore, in this one example we have two extremely subjective criteria for a business owner to get approval for transferring just their location, let alone transferring their license in the process. Questions can arise, like: does the new location have to be “more suitable” to the public, the business or both? If the city feels that an MME’s activity is not in the public’s interest, what sort of burden of proof does the business have to satisfy in order to get approval?

Since each individual committee has immense final decision power and each decision will involve a host of unique subjective factors, every attempted approval should be guided with the assistance of a medical marijuana business lawyer in order to ease the process.

Interpreting Laws

When medical marijuana business owners request to transfer ownership, the new recipient of the license must undergo the same application process as the initial owner’s. Nevada state laws also provide that a local board may “deem a medical marijuana establishment in compliance with all local governmental ordinances or rules, regardless of any ranking of the establishment established by the Division.”

In this situation where a local board holds the power to interpret laws, challenges the initial application did not endure could arise. Suddenly, the meaning of past decisions could be called into question, and the new owner could face challenges given their unique standing.

For instance, SB 276 limits a group, person or entity to ownership of one marijuana establishment registration license in the area. Therefore, if a privately held company had a large stakeholder that separately held an individual license in the same area, could the local approval committee interpret this as one person owning multiple establishments?

Legal questions like these are infinitely complex and subject to the extent of debate allowed on the matter. As more of these debates occur, case law and precedent could introduce further complexities.

You can navigate these difficulties with the assistance of a Nevada medical marijuana business attorney, who will lend clarity and represent your case to the best of their ability.

Anyone attempting to buy or sell a medical marijuana license in Nevada can contact Connor & Connor for representation and answers to their pressing questions.

 

In an unexpected announcement on December 14, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has released a new ruling on “Marihuana Extract” products and given them a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number, effectively making them illegal under federal law (The DEA gave no explanation as to their archaic and unorthodox spelling of “marijuana”).

This ruling affects any and all extracts of marijuana plants, including cannabidiol extracts, known as “CBD” products on the market. It will devastate the CBD extract industry, which was valued at $65 million in 2015 according to one estimate, and potentially rob thousands of patients with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia, PTSD, chronic inflammation, AIDS and cancer the medicine they need to reduce painful symptoms and enhance their well-being.

Some in the legal field are already alleging that a unilateral ruling such as this one oversteps the authority of the DEA by circumventing congress, and they also voice concerns that the ruling may needlessly affect industrial hemp products, which contain only trace amounts of THC and are largely used in textiles and other materials manufacturing.

We want to assure our clients and any concerned readers that we are currently looking into the issue and will join other attorneys in litigation pushing back against such actions if we are able to deem that they run contrary to other federal laws, state laws and prior court rulings.

Why the DEA CBD Ruling Made CBD Illegal

One of the most concerning aspects of this new “Final Ruling” lies in the fact that it encompasses CBD extracts along with other products that may contain low or no quantities of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component.

The DEA issued the following response to such comments:

For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code 7350. In view of this comment, the regulatory text accompanying new drug code 7350 has been modified slightly to make clear that it includes cannabis extracts that contain only one cannabinoid.

In other words, the DEA asserts that all CBD extracts fall under this new drug code and ruling because they inevitably contain some amount of other cannabinoids. They even go so far as to state that if such were not the case, the new drug code still encompasses a hypothetically “pure” CBD product.

Contradictions and Ramifications with State Laws

Currently, 28 states have medical cannabis laws, and eight passed adult use laws during the most recent November election. Most if not all of these laws run contrary to federal policies that state that medical marijuana is a schedule I substance, meaning that in the federal government’s opinion it has no accepted medical use and can be addicting.

Since many state legislators and electors resoundingly disagree with this opinion — likely including the million-plus medical marijuana patients nationwide — marijuana attorneys representing patients and businesses will be closely examining the legal ramifications of the ruling and likely challenging it in the near future.

If you own a medical marijuana business or are a medical marijuana patient who wants to fight for your right to doctor-approved medicine, then you do not have to take the DEA’s unilateral ruling lying down. Call the offices of our Nevada medical marijuana lawyers using the phone number you see above or contact us online today to defend your rights and examine every legal avenue you have against the DEA’s recent actions.

 

Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some states, such as Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Other states such as Arizona, have legalized marijuana only for medical purposes. The patchwork of laws may leave people with questions regarding when and where they can purchase marijuana. The following is meant to provide you with a basic overview of the differing marijuana laws in the United States, if you have any specific questions regarding the marijuana laws in your state, or a state where you may be traveling, we suggest consulting with an attorney before you take any action that could affect your legal rights.

How Do You Buy Marijuana in States Where it’s Legal?

States that allow for the recreational use of marijuana typically do not require anything other than a photo identification card to purchase marijuana. States that have only legalized medical marijuana typically require marijuana patients to acquire approval from a physician and a state issued patient identification card prior to buying marijuana. Most states require the patient to be a resident of that state and most states do not have reciprocity with other states. Thus, a patient from Colorado typically cannot buy marijuana from a medical dispensary in a state like Arizona. Nevada does have full reciprocity with nonresident patient cardholders. Therefore, a patient cardholder from a state like Colorado can legally purchase from a dispensary in Nevada.

In states where marijuana is legal, patients and recreational users are generally required to purchase their marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary, while some states still allow for home cultivation. Most dispensaries carry a wide variety of strains and other products containing marijuana such as, edibles, oils, or tinctures. Most dispensaries require proper identification and limit patients or recreational users to the amounts that they are legally allowed to possess under that jurisdiction’s laws. For example, in Nevada a medical patient may not purchase or possess greater than two and one half ounces of marijuana at a time.

Each state has taken its own approach to marijuana legalization. Patients and users are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with local marijuana laws before attempting to use or possess marijuana.

Connor & Connor

Our law firm is dedicated to helping those with questions about medicinal or recreational usage in the state of Nevada. If you have questions regarding marijuana laws, contact the Connor & Connor law firm today.

 

As a spokesperson for the Question Two campaign and a strong supporter, I am still feeling the “buzz” from Tuesday’s election results. Nevadans agree that adults should not be punished for choosing to use marijuana, privately and responsibly. As we move forward, many people are starting to question when and where this legal marijuana can be purchased and how this will affect Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Program.

What are the laws governing recreational marijuana?

marijuana_regulations_signInitiative Petition 1 is the ballot initiative that voters passed on November 8, 2016. The Initiative sets forth an outline of the recreational marijuana laws, such as who will regulate the industry, the amount of the excise tax, and how much marijuana people are allowed to buy, use, and possess. The Initiative is an outline, though, and the Department of Taxation will issue regulations that will determine the qualifications for ownership, the rules on advertisements, requirements for testing, etc.

Can I purchase recreational marijuana today?

No, Initiative Petition 1, the ballot initiative that passed on November 8, 2016 does not become effective until January 1, 2017. See below for more information on when you may be to make purchases.

When will adults over 21 be able to purchase marijuana?

recreational_marijuana_dispensaryThe effective date of Initiative Petition 1 is January 1, 2017. That does not mean adults over 21 can go into a dispensary on January 1, 2017 and legally purchase “recreational” marijuana. Rather, the Department of Taxation has 12 months from that date to issue regulations and begin accepting applications for marijuana establishments that will sell recreational marijuana, or dual licensees, which can sell both recreational and medical marijuana.

The Department of Taxation must approve or deny an application within 90 days after receipt of the application. Therefore, it is anticipated that legal recreational sales will occur around April of 2018.

However, Senator Tick Segerblom, widely considered the “godfather of marijuana” in Nevada, has again taken the lead on marijuana in Nevada and is organizing a trip to Oregon to do research on their “Early Start” program, which allowed sales of recreational marijuana earlier than their ballot initiative contemplated. If Senator Segerblom finds that a similar program would be successful in Nevada, then it is possible for the Nevada legislature to enact a similar “Early Start” program to allow legal sales of recreational marijuana prior to 2018.

What is allowed?

As of January 1, people will be able to possess, use, and consume up to 1 ounce of marijuana and 1/8th of an ounce of concentrated marijuana. Also, cultivation and possession of up to 6 plants will be legal unless a person resides within 25 miles of a dispensary. While possession and consumption is legal January 1, 2017, you must stay tuned on the date legal purchases can be made.

What is the tax rate?

marijuana moneyInitiative Petition 1 imposes a 15% excise sales tax on wholesale sales in addition to state and local sales, which will be used to pay for costs of administering the program, with the remaining funds going to the State’s school distributive account.

How will Initiative Petition 1 affect the medical marijuana program?

With regards to the impact on the medical marijuana program, Initiative Petition 1 states that nothing in the Petition shall be construed to affect the medical marijuana program under NRS 453A. Therefore, patients do not need to worry that their rights or understanding of the medical marijuana program will change in any way.

What does Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Mean?

The Department of Taxation will regulate recreational marijuana, which will be cultivated and sold in a three-tier model similar to alcohol.marijuana_and_alcohol

Can people use marijuana in public now?

No, Initiative Petition 1 allows for criminal penalties for persons who smoke or consume marijuana in a public place, retail marijuana store, or moving vehicle. It will still be illegal to consume marijuana in a public place and you will most likely be in violation of Nevada’s DUI laws if you consume it in a vehicle, even a parked vehicle, so do not consume marijuana in a vehicle or in public.

Do employment or DUI laws change?

marijuana DUIInitiative Petition 1 is explicit that it does not change DUI laws or employment law. The Petition states that it does not allow a person to drive under the influence or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. The Nevada Legislature may make changes to Nevada’s DUI laws, but this ballot initiative does not. Similarly, the Petition specifically states that it does not prohibit a public or private employer from maintaining, enacting, and enforcing a workplace policy prohibiting or restrictions actions under the Petition. Therefore, the Petition does not change employment allow or prevent employers from prohibiting marijuana use by employees.

Can I get a license for a recreational marijuana facility?

Under Initiative Petition 1, only a “Retail Marijuana Store” may sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers. The Initiative sets forth how many dispensaries will be permitted in each county. The Initiative also sets forth that there will be marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, and marijuana distributors.

The Department of Taxation will adopt regulations governing the process to apply for a marijuana establishment license and the qualifications for licensure. The Department must adopt those marijuana_extractregulations by January 1, 2018. The Department must begin accepting applications at that time, and must approve or deny the applications within 90 days of receipt. For the first 18 months from the date the Department begins accepting applications, the Department shall only accept licenses for recreational marijuana establishments (product manufacturing facilities, cultivation facilities, and dispensaries) from “persons holding a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate.” Therefore, if you do not hold a medical marijuana establishment registration certificate, you must wait for 18 months after the Department of Taxation begins to accept applications until you may apply to operate a retail marijuana store, cultivation facility, or product manufacturing facility.

As always, I welcome calls from patients and businesses regarding marijuana issues. I am proud of our state and look forward to being involved in shaping the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana. Contact Connor and Connor regarding any questions about marijuana legalization in Nevada.

 

With Nevada’s medical marijuana industry on the steady rise, and with the potential for a recreational marijuana market come election time this fall, there are still some questions left unanswered for those in the industry.

Marijuana Businesses and Banking

One of the biggest question marks left (for all states that have legalized marijuana in some form) is what will happen with banking. As it stands now, using or cultivating marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and the FDIC, a federal agency, insures all nationwide financial institutions. Therefore, banks are refusing to hold accounts with businesses that participate in the marijuana market. The banks fear they are risking too much, such as administrative costs and penalties, if they allow banking opportunities with a federally illegal industry. This results in some business owners trying to hide their business purposes from the banks and in turn, causing banks to keep a close eye out for accounts that might filter into marijuana establishments.

The Problems with “Cash Only”

Because of the significant barriers between banks and marijuana establishments, many businesses have foregone trying to open bank accounts. So aside from the piles of cash collected every day, customers are also not able to use their credit or debit cards when purchasing the products. Yes, it is currently a cash-only business. This creates some major problems; from storing the money to carrying it on/off premises, both the business and the customers face security issues when handling large amounts of cash. Surrounding states, like California, Arizona, and Oregon, have already faced significant security threats such as armed robbery and theft.

Possible Marijuana Banking Solutions

While the industry still faces this problem on a day-to-day basis, government officials have begun addressing this problem in discussions and bill proposals. One bill, the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, was introduced a few years back. The bill would protect the bank-and-marijuana industry relationship in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, and prohibit penalization from the federal government. However, the bill has not yet been passed despite a fair amount of support from government officials across party lines (including Nevada’s own Senator Harry Reid, Senator Rand Paul, and Senator Bernie Sanders).

The House of Representatives passed a similar notion in 2014 that would prohibit the Treasury from penalizing banks. Additionally, the Department of Justice and the United States Treasury are both brainstorming new guidelines and regulations to help accommodate both federal law and state law regarding the marijuana establishment banking issue. The executive branch has also hinted that penalizing financial institutions for creating accounts for marijuana establishments is a low priority and they might be willing to look the other way. While these options sound promising, no option is concrete enough for banks to rely on and confidently know they will not be punished.

Nevada May Have the Answer

One of the best possible options comes from our home state. Nevada might become the first state to operate a system known as “thrift banking” for the marijuana industry, where small community banks will be privately operated and thus not insured by the FDIC. By doing so, marijuana businesses can circumvent the crippling fees and administrative issues that a federal insured would put on the industry. However, thrift banks will face their own obstacles. State regulations will govern the entities, and there will likely be costly fees, applications, rules, and requirements that the thrift banks must abide by. For example, the application requires an extensive investigation into the character, fitness, and financial standing of the applicants. Once approved, the thrift banks will have to follow numerous regulations and further the state’s objectives. Still, Nevada might pave the way for these groundbreaking institutions and help accommodate the marijuana industry until the federal government makes substantial changes.

So while banking remains an issue for the marijuana industry, there is some hope for the future. The growing industry is putting the necessary pressure on lawmakers to accommodate state’s banking needs, and government officials are responding by initiating discussions and introducing bills to the legislature. With more and more states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, the safety issue can no longer be ignored. And while there is still a ways to go, we are at least moving in the right direction.

Sources:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/08/19/nevada-marijuana-business-banking/32003535/
http://www.calbankers.com/post/frequently-asked-questions-marijuana-and-banking
http://www.cannalawblog.com/new-nevada-thrift-law-may-hold-the-key-to-cannabis-banking/

 

On a long car ride back from the soccer field this weekend, my son caught me a little off guard with some of his probing and challenging questions. Probably due to the fact that he was raised in a house with two lawyers, my son likes to think through and gather information and then likes to challenge people on their viewpoints. Others would say – he likes to argue.

So our talk went something like this:

“Mom, I saw a bunch of senators and other people on a YouTube commercial saying to vote Yes on 2. Oh and I saw you on one too, but not the one with the Senator. Why mommy are you wanting to legalize marijuana?”

To go from discussing what type of food we wanted for lunch to this, was a bit of whiplash, but I felt it important to discuss with my 9 year old why exactly I supported Question 2 – legalizing the adult use of marijuana. Here were the reasons I gave him:

Personal Freedom1. Personal freedom: I do not believe that the government should tell me what I can or cannot do with my body when it harms no one else. I do not believe that the government should be able to tell us what substances we can or cannot use. With my son I gave examples of how I think it is wrong for governments to tell women how many children they can have or to tell someone that they must have a baby. I also discussed how I think that someone should be able to eat or consume any substance they want to put in their bodies. If it doesn’t hurt others, in my opinion, it is our personal choice and the government should not be involved.

 

marijuana chalkboard2. For our schools. The public schools in Nevada are ranked 48 out 50 in the country. Our schools need money so that they can provide a better education to our students. I want my children to get the best education possible, and for that reason I support Question 2.

 

Alcohol regulation3. Regulation works. I told my son that in Nevada most kids will be offered marijuana between the ages of 9-11 (which spanned a whole other conversation with my 9 year old) and that is because it is unregulated. I truly believe that regulation works. Look at alcohol. Children between 9-11 are not offered alcohol and that is because it is regulated and you must show an ID to purchase it. Will it be instantaneous that marijuana will be off the streets and out of the black market? No, but I do believe it will work and I think it is worth the effort to regulate marijuana and make this safe substance accessible to adults while also making it less accessible to our children.

My son intently listened to my reasons and seemed to understand what I was saying. He said he liked the idea of the schools getting more money because his school needs more books in the library. But then he decided to push a little further:

“My counselor said that marijuana is a drug. She also said that people can get addicted to drugs by trying things just one time. Do you really want people addicted to marijuana?”

I then explained to him that while I do not believe that marijuana is addictive, I do understand and agree that there is a small percentage of people in the world that are prone to addiction. That yes those people can become addicted to something if they just try it one time. And that even with these type of people in mind, I would support Question 2. Why? Because regulation works. It will make it more difficult to buy the product off the black market and it will ensure that the product that is purchased is safer because it will be tested.

In the end I explained to my son that while Question 2 is talking about whether adults should be legally allowed to purchase marijuana or not, the reason I support Question 2 is all about children. I support it because I want my children and all our children to be able to make their own choices as adults, I want them to have access to better schools and I want children safe. Getting unregulated marijuana off our streets will do just that.

vote to regulate marijuanaTherefore, I ask you to stand with me and Vote Yes on Question 2.

 

Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000, but it was not until 2013 that the Nevada legislature enacted legislation allowing patients to access medicine at a dispensary. Nevadans and Nevada’s patients were surprised to learn how difficult it was to obtain a registry identification card (“patient card”), as dispensaries began to open in late 2015.

Nevadans were learning about the complicated multi-step process required to obtain a patient card, which would span well over a month or more. Fortunately, the industry, the DPBH, and legislators were willing to work together to find solutions to improve access. Below are just some examples of the improvements made to the application process.

  • Allow patients to obtain the application online, rather than by mail-in request.
  • Allow patients to submit the application online, rather than by mailing the application to the State’s office.
  • Allow patients to use a temporary authorization while the physical card is pending, rather than requiring the patient to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) to obtain the physical card first.
  • Mail the physical card to patients, rather than requiring them to go to the DMV.

Now, the application process is practically unrecognizable compared to just six months ago. Today, a patient can obtain a patient card without leaving their home, except for the requisite doctor visit, which is ideal for older patients or those who have difficulty running the errands many of us take for granted. Patients can obtain a patient card in one of three ways, outlined below.

  1. ELECTRONIC PROCESS THROUGH A DISPENSARY
    1. Visit one of the dispensaries that have volunteered to help patients through the electronic process to obtain the application. (Please check back for this list to be posted).
    2. Pay the $100 application fee at the dispensary.
    3. Visit a doctor to obtain a “physician recommendation” for medical marijuana. The dispensary may have a suggestion as to which doctors are familiar with the physician recommendation process.
    4. Return to the dispensary for help uploading your application.
    5. Access the patient application portal to view your “Letter of Approval,” approximately 1-2 days after submitting it. Continue to check for approval until the DPBH has processed your application.
    6. Use the temporary 60-day letter that the DPBH provides to you until you receive your patient card in the mail.
  1. DO-IT-YOURSELF ELECTRONIC PROCESS
    1. Visit https://mmportal.nv.gov online, create an account and click the link to “Register as Cardholder.”
    2. To being the application, the applicant must upload a scanned image of the driver’s license. A copy of the driver’s license will not work; the driver’s license itself must be saved as a JPG, PNG, or TIF in grayscale color in 300 DPI or greater.
    3. Follow the prompts. Once you have successfully registered, you will receive an email with the subject line “Successful State of Nevada Medical Marijuana Cardholder Registration.” However, you must still complete and submit an application before becoming a medical marijuana patient.
    4. You can complete most of the application on-line, but you will need to take the application (filled in with your personal information) to a doctor to obtain a physician recommendation.
    5. Once you fill out all the necessary application fields, an application will be created and an application number will be generated.
    6. Next, you will be prompted to pay the $100 in application fees.
    7. You will receive a message that your payment was either accepted or rejected.
    8. If payment was rejected, you will receive an invoice and you will not be able to submit your application electronically.
    9. If payment was successful, you will be able to upload your application documents once they are complete.
    10. For a more detailed list of steps please see the patient guidance overview available here.

  1. STATE APPLICATION PROCESS THROUGH A DISPENSARY (Note: This process is only temporarily available, so be sure to check with a dispensary to see if this office is still in operation).
    1. Visit one of the dispensaries that have signed up to assist patients through the application process listed at nvdispense.com.
    2. The dispensaries listed on the nvdispense.com website should be able to assist you in obtaining your application, filling it out and suggesting a doctor who is familiar with the patient card process, if your primary physician is not wiling to issue a “physician recommendation.”
    3. Obtain the Physician’s Recommendation and have the appropriate portion of the application notarized.
    4. Return to the dispensary, which will schedule an appointment for you at the DPBH’s Las Vegas application office.