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Nevada Legislature: Bills would create system to provide medical marijuana

Daily Dose 2011-04-08 0 comments

By Geoff Dornan |  Published in Tahoe Bonanza

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, Wednesday asked the Commerce and Labor Committee he chairs to support a bill that would create a system to provide marijuana to qualified medical patients.

He said the current system allows those with a legitimate medical need to get a card permitting them to use marijuana but provides no mechanism for them to do so. He said the state needs to allow creation of a system that fixes that problem.

Several people testified in favor of Senate Bill 336 including Rebecca Gasca of the American Civil Liberties Union who said because Nevada voters put into the constitution the right to medical marijuana, “this is a constitutional right in the state of Nevada.”

She said more than two-thirds of voters supported the medical marijuana question, but that lawmakers didn’t follow through with a system to provide access to the drug.

“There’s no legal way for them to obtain their medicine,” she said. “It’s forcing patients to engage in felonious activity.”

Rowan Wilson, who identified herself as a medical marijuana patient, also complained that there is no way to legally obtain marijuana..

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said he can support medical marijuana for those with certain conditions but is concerned that a system for providing it would create a situation in which some doctors could over prescribe the drug.

Schneider said that can be controlled because the prescription data would all be computerized, enabling authorities to look for doctors issuing too many prescriptions.

Schneider said the other real issue is the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which goes after growers, providers and doctors.

The committee took no action on the measure.

Gasca said after the hearing that Assembly Bill 438, introduced by Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa, is a better approach which sets up a three tiered system of growers, processors and providers to get medical marijuana to those who need it and are licensed to use the drug.

That bill has not been processed yet.