Nevada is technically one of the 16 states in the U.S. with medical marijuana regulations on the books. But its MMJ ordinance has a huge shortcoming: It doesn’t specifically address the selling and buying of cannabis, both of which are illegal under state and federal laws.
So while Nevada does indeed allow individuals to cultivate and use limited amounts of marijuana, you won’t find a “legal” dispensary or MMJ cooperative anywhere in the state. Patients must either grow their own marijuana or hook up with a caregiver who is supposed to provide the cannabis for free or for a “donation,” though even the laws surround these areas are murky.
In essence, the state passed medical marijuana laws but didn’t create a framework for distributing the drug, a huge faux pas that other states such as Michigan have made as well. The regulatory structure has created mass confusion over the years, with patients unsure where to turn for medicine and people uncertain of how to provide it to them.
But a defense attorney for a dispensary charged with illegally selling marijuana says that could all change in the coming weeks. Robert Draskovich, who is representing the owners of a now-defunct MMC called Sin City Co-Op, thinks there’s a chance the judge will throw the entire case out. That would ostensibly clear the way for dispensaries to operate in Nevada, or at least for the state to clarify how medical marijuana should be distributed.
The judge previously called the state’s MMJ laws “mind boggling” and threw out the case in September for procedural mistakes. But prosecutors cleared up the errors and re-indicted the owners, landing the case back in front of the same judge.
This time around, the judge has asked Nevada’s attorney general to provide guidance on the matter in the coming weeks.
Several medical pot dispensaries have cropped up over the past two years in Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas. But the federal government has numerous conducted raids, forcing them to close. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has charged the dispensary owners with illegally selling cannabis, saying that state laws only allow them to provide patients with guidance and advice.
Any move to bring more clarity to Nevada’s medical pot laws would be welcomed by both MMJ supporters and opponents, as no one can see through the haze at this point.