Medical marijuana dispensaries closer to reality in Nevada - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Medical marijuana dispensaries closer to reality in Nevada

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

One down, two to go - on Wednesday night, the state Senate voted 17-4 in favor of state-regulated medical marijuana clinics for Nevada. The next step is Assembly hearings and for Gov. Brian Sandoval's signature, which need to happen before midnight on Monday.

Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, is pleased with Senate Bill 374's progress.

"It's very bipartisan. We have law enforcement on board, we have a vast group of people so far and everyone's focused on getting this done," he said.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, is not one of them. He believes the dispensaries will pave the way for potential drug abuse.

"You have no clue what and how much a person is going to use or not use and what they need and what they don't need," Hardy said. 

Hardy, a medical doctor, sees nothing wrong with the the use of "Marinol," a pill version of marijuana that was approved years ago by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"There are doses for it, there are pills for it and it can be written as a prescription in a very specific way," he said.

The bill as written does present problems for existing medical users who grow their own marijuana. It removes the right to grow their own marijuana, according to Segerblom.

"We're actually in the process of drafting an amendment where we are trying to allow those who grow to at least continue for a couple of years," he said.

Derek Connor, legal council for Dr. Reefer, a service that offers to provide medical marijuana users medical cards, believes the industry, once operational, will become  $2 billion a year business within five years and will generate $120 million a year for the state.

Even if the Assembly succeeds in voting in favor of the bill and the governor signs off on it, it will still be quite some time before dispensaries open for business, according to Segerblom.

"The Department of Health has to develop regulations, local governments need to develop zone ordinances. I think you are looking at 18 months to two years," he said.

The initial license fee to operate a marijuana clinic is $20,000 with an annual renewal fee of $5,000.

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