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Medical Marijuana FAQs
As marijuana states back off of social marijuana use for fear of inciting a federal crackdown, Nevada is bucking the trend and pushing ahead with pot clubs. Senate Bill 236, which would let local governments permit marijuana social clubs and other forms of public use currently outlawed, took one step closer to becoming law Tuesday. The bill passed with a 12-9 vote on Tuesday, and it now goes to the Assembly. On Monday, Clark County’s marijuana advisory panel finalized recommendations for for county commissioners that detail how marijuana lounges in Southern Nevada could work. But other states have exercised more caution under the Trump administration. ADVERTISING In Colorado this month, lawmakers gutted a bill that would have permitted social pot clubs after Gov. John Hickenlooper warned that such a move could draw the ire of the administration and bring federal drug enforcers down upon the state’s billion-dollar industry. In Alaska, lawmakers delayed a law allowing consumption in dispensaries, and Maine is considering a similar move. That leaves the door open for Nevada to become the first state to allow regulated social clubs. The move seems to have support from the gaming industry. Adults 21 and older can possess (and later this year buy) up to an ounce of marijuana, but the law that took effect Jan. 1 makes it so they can only consume that in a private residence. That leaves tourists who stay on the Strip or other resort properties in a conundrum: They will be able to buy pot legally, but will have no place to use it because casinos have been told to keep it off their properties or risk losing their licenses. “Tourists don’t have a home in Nevada,” bill sponsor Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said on the Senate floor before the vote. Pot lounges in Clark County would be located off the Strip, and could act as a “safe haven” for tourists who want to use marijuana, said Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands Corp. senior vice president, at Monday’s panel meeting. Not having those lounges, Abboud added, would cause tourists to bring the drug onto the casino properties and “dump the responsibility onto the resort corridor.” Tony Alamo, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, echoed those thoughts, saying those lounges would keep gaming companies from running afoul with the federal law. Revenue source The Senate voted down party lines, with 11 Democrats and independent Sen. Patricia Farley voting yes, and nine Republicans casting “nay” votes. Segerblom noted Gov. Brian Sandoval’s two-year budget calls for roughly $70 million from a special marijuana sales tax, and said tourists are an important part of that goal. “We’re trying to get $70 million in tax revenue from them,” Segerblom said. “So let’s give them some place to use it.” Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, noted two reasons why he was voting against he bill: He thinks the people who voted for the marijuana ballot measure in November did so thinking that people would only be able to consume in their homes, and because most of the counties he represents voted against legalization.
With recreational weed sales coming, what will happen to medical marijuana in Nevada?
1. Decriminalizing and regulating marijuana will reduce minors' exposure to the drug and other, harder narcotics. For years teenagers have found it easier to get their hands on marijuana, than it is for them to get a bottle of alcohol. And that is simply because alcohol is regulated, readily available and as a result, not profitable for your local drug dealer to sell. Marijuana however, is profitable and is a great Segway for the dealer into pushing the, likely impressionable, teen into something harder, addictive and very profitable for him.
Another point, while we're on the topic of regulation, is that the dealer in this scenario could be selling something dangerous like synthetic marijuana, or even marijuana laced with something and the buyer, potentially someone in need of relief from an ailment, could be none-the-wiser and be doing a great deal of damage to their health.
2. Billions of dollars in profit from marijuana help to fuel drug syndicates and vanish from the US economy. This money could be used to generate a huge amount of tax revenue. In fact, Colorado, in only 3 months of legalization, has raised over $12 million in taxes as of March. That money, pre-regulation would have gone straight into the hands of drug lords and would have likely been used to fund their trade in hard narcotics. And this is only one state, a microcosm of the imminent potential. There are a slew of new cannabis related businesses that have gone public and whose stocks are being traded as the infamous "marijuana stocks", just another stimulant for the local economy.
3. Hemp. Enough said. Well, not really but it should be - let me fill you in on the amazing by-product that we get from the cannabis plant. Not only does hemp give us the strongest natural fiber known to man, but it also gives us building material, plastic, paper, you can even eat the stuff!
George Washington grew marijuana, he was intrigued by it's medicinal potential as recorded in his diary, but the even bigger appeal for him was hemp. He even made it mandatory for farmers to grow the plant at one stage. And it turns out that he was onto something: hemp stalks are now being developed into bio-fuel. This in itself could go a long way in reducing carbon emissions.
4. The medicinal benefits of marijuana. The plant has actually been used ever since its potential was realized around 2900 BC by Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi. He said that the plant contained both Yin and Yang. 200 years later Shen Nung, said to be the Father of Chinese medicine, noted the healing benefits of marijuana. It has since been used the world over to treat a wide array of ailments.
It wasn't really until the 20th century that all of a sudden marijuana became the evil plant that lead to insanity and certain death, a la 'Reefer Madness' (cringe). Regardless once again, its potential is being recognized and, with the advances in science that we now have at our disposal, there is more potential for medical marijuana than ever.