By the looks of things, 2016 is going to be one of the biggest years for marijuana legislation reform to date. With 16 different states thinking about adding a vote to their ballots for some form of legislation reform, it’s no real surprise.
But, one state in particular has caught the eye of the United States marijuana community, making them a must-watch state at the moment. Nevada, which had already attempted to cast a vote for recreational marijuana legalization, has already added the vote to its 2016 ballot and has become a hotbed of marijuana legislation changes.
Nevada narrowly missed its chance to vote on Initiative Petition 1, also known as The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana. This petition, which received over 200,000 signatures from legal Nevadan voters, proposed a system to legalize, tax and create a regulated system of recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21. However, the legislature didn’t give the petition its approval and therefore did not vote on it.
But all hope is lost yet. Because the legislature didn’t give Initiative Petition 1 its approval, this means that the vote will automatically appear on the 2016 Nevada ballots. While citizens of Nevada do have to wait until November of next year in order to vote on the issue, this guarantees that the vote will appear on the ballot.
What does this mean for the future of the Nevadan recreational marijuana industry? The voters in the state will be the ones making all of the decisions. If they choose to pass the initiative and make it into law, then Nevadan voters will be able to choose how they want the recreational marijuana system to be regulated throughout the state.
The biggest amount of support is behind regulating marijuana like alcohol. This option could mean that visitors to the state would be able to apply the laws that are already in place for alcohol to marijuana as well. But, this does make one wonder about if marijuana will be treated differently in Nevada than in other states, seeing as open container laws are fairly lax. If the state votes to regulate marijuana the same way they do alcohol, it could be possible to walk down the Las Vegas strip while smoking a joint. Only time can tell at this point.
Democratic Senator Tick Segerblom has revealed that he is sponsoring a bill that would also allow qualifying pets of Nevada residents to receive medical marijuana treatments if prescribed by a qualified veterinarian.
Senate Bill 372, would allow pets that are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses to receive medical marijuana cards for prescriptions that could help alleviate their suffering. The pets can receive the medication so long as the owner is a legal and registered resident of Nevada and that the animal’s primary veterinarian certifies that a medical marijuana treatment could help to alleviate any suffering present.
However, this doesn’t mean that there will simply be a lot of cats and dogs getting high in Nevada. The treatment would include a tincture made from medical cannabis, which allows the pet to safely receive the dosage of medicine without creating an uncomfortable “high” feeling for them.
This is a bit of a hotbed issue, however, as even Segerblom has admitted that he is concerned that the animals may actually experience some adverse reactions from ingesting the tinctures that we currently are unaware of due to a lack of testing on animals. But until then, Segerblom is looking to legalize it for pets, claiming that “you don’t know until you try.”
SB372 is part of a larger bill that’s working to overhaul the state’s medical marijuana program, parts of which would remove penalties for drivers found with THC in their systems and a law that requires any person looking to own a dispensary to go through a mandatory training before they open.
On the medical front, regulators in Nevada recently gave their final approval to the state’s very first medical marijuana cultivation facility. The Sierra Wellness Connection, will be located north of Reno and will be growing the marijuana in the northern valleys of the state. Using the marijuana grown there, Sierra Wellness Connection plans on opening up a dispensary this summer in downtown Reno.
Morgan Carr, the vice president of research and development at Sierra, explains that the cannabis grown at their facility will be lab tested and cultivated in strict accordance with state laws and health standards.
Joe Crowley, the former president of the University of Nevada, Reno and the current president of Sierra Wellness Connection, said, “We’re certainly pleased that the state has acted judiciously to allow us to move forward and open our cultivation facility.”
With its own cultivation site in-state, Nevada patients will not have to rely on marijuana grown in other states, which may be as closely regulated or controlled due to other laws. Overall, Nevada is making great strides in the way of marijuana legislation reform. By late 2016, they have the potential to be one of the best places to enjoy the benefits of both medical and recreational marijuana.
Would you like to see cannabis legal in Nevada? Will you visit? Share your thoughts in the comments.