Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada are only a few legislative steps away from joining a number of other jurisdictions in the U.S. in legalizing the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
It’s been a long road: more than a decade has transpired since Nevadans voted in favor of medical marijuana. The state Senate’s passage of SB374 builds on the action taken by voters in 2000 that allowed residents to obtain medical marijuana cards by actually calling for the establishment of dispensaries from which patients can purchase the drug. Presently, medical marijuana card holders’ only option is to grow marijuana themselves.
But this action isn’t the end of the road. The state Assembly must approve of the measure and the Governor must sign the bill before it becomes law.
If it does become law, it will potentially lead to a sea change with respect to crime and punishment related to marijuana. Currently, more than 3,400 Nevadans are in legal possession of medical marijuana cards. Government-regulated dispensaries will make it much easier for these patients to access marijuana legally. More importantly, if the law is passed, countless additional numbers of Nevada residents will acquire medical marijuana licenses and obtain the drug without the hassle of growing their own medicine.
In other words, the passage of this legislation could soon make Las Vegas and all of Nevada a safe haven for medical marijuana, allowing approved businesses to grow and sell the drug and for many more patients to purchase and use it. The fees imposed and taxes levied on the substance would help stimulate the economy.
The bill passed by the Senate establishes fees and regulations imposed on those who grow, process, and sell medical marijuana. Additionally, the bill sets limits on how many dispensaries may operate in each county based on population. For example, Clark County would be limited to forty dispensaries.
If medical marijuana dispensaries soon become a reality, the next question will be whether Nevada will join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the drug beyond just medicinal use.