Nevada Looks to Expand Legal Cannabis Market

1280px-Las_Vegas,_Planet_HollywoodThis November, voters in Nevada will consider whether or not to approve the sale of recreational marijuana. The state already has a medical cannabis program, which includes eight specific conditions that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card: cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and conditions that include muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, severe pain or wasting.

Currently, Nevada is one of two states that allow the possession and purchase of medical marijuana by out-of-staters. Maine recognizes medical marijuana cards from other states as long as the patient has their physician fill out a form for the state regulatory agency. Hawaii will allow qualifying patients from out of state to purchase medical marijuana on January 1, 2018.

Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire and Rhode Island allow patients from other states to use marijuana, but generally not to purchase it.

Polls in Nevada show widespread support for legalizing recreational marijuana. If approved, the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana would be similar to laws adopted in Washington and Colorado, which tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. Legalization in the Silver State would permit anyone 21 or over to purchase recreational cannabis.

Proponents of the measure believe that legal recreational cannabis could create millions of dollars in tax revenue, as well as saving money spent on marijuana enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses. Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, estimates that the U.S. spends about $78 billion in marijuana prohibition efforts.

Tourism is big business in Nevada, but because marijuana is still federally illegal, don’t expect to be able to light up in casinos. Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said, “people who have a gaming license in Nevada are forbidden from violating not just Nevada law, but all other laws, including the laws of other states and federal law.” Casinos cannot currently participate in the medical marijuana industry for that same reason.

 

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