CARSON CITY — A former chairman of Nevada’s Democratic Party wants to license farms where marijuana can be grown legally and certify pot dispensaries for the first time for the thousands of registered medical users in the state.
Medicinal marijuana use was legalized in Nevada in 2001. But Assemblyman Tick Segerblom says the law has never provided any legal way for medical card holders to obtain the drug.
The Las Vegas Democrat who is running for the state Senate says he asked for a bill draft that would set up the certification process, allow Nevadans to obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries in neighboring California and impose an unspecified tax on the pot.
Nevada had more than 3,000 registered users as of 2011, including people with glaucoma and cancer patients who suffer loss of appetite because of chemotherapy, said Segerblom, who was the chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1990-94.
He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal his bill is a response to a decision in March by then-Clark County District Judge Donald Mosley throwing out charges against two men who supplied marijuana to patients.
Although Nevada law allows each person with a state card to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, and grow as many as three mature and four immature plants, Segerblom said the Legislature has failed in its duty to create an appropriate way for legal users to acquire it.
The challenge will be to pass a law that does not run afoul of federal law that makes it illegal to possess the drug. President Barack Obama in April asked federal agencies not to prosecute individual medical marijuana users and instead to concentrate their resources on large suppliers of the drug.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers do not arrest medical marijuana patients unless they violate the limits of the state marijuana law, a department spokesman said.
Since the 2001 medical marijuana measure was approved, legislators have proposed other bills calling for dispensaries, farms and marijuana taxes, but none of them has been approved. Petition drives to legalize marijuana for public consumption also twice failed to win voter approval.