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Court postpones medical marijuana criminal case against six

A judge on Friday postponed a criminal case against defendants who say they were distributing state-sanctioned medical marijuana, setting the stage for a Supreme Court showdown.

District Judge Douglas Smith halted the case against six defendants from Jolly Green Meds, a co-op busted by Las Vegas police, who alleged it was distributing marijuana for compensation in the form of donations.

Earlier this week, Smith denied a motion to dismiss the case, saying he felt the state medical marijuana law “is written with sufficient definiteness so as not to be void for vagueness.”

Smith acknowledged the Legislature did not appropriately address “methods of supply of medicinal marijuana to patients authorized to use it.”

More than a dozen defendants facing criminal charges for distributing medical marijuana have argued the Nevada law is paradoxical because it allows patients registered with the state to possess medical marijuana but makes it illegal to obtain it. The defendants say they were trying to fill a void left by the legislature to supply medical marijuana to patients unable to grow it themselves.

But authorities have cracked down and eliminated nearly all the local entities distributing marijuana to state-registered patients because, the authorities allege, the cooperatives are violating Nevada law.

On Friday, Smith said his ruling Tuesday was based on the law and the facts of the Jolly Green Meds case and was not “an editorial” on medical marijuana.

Defense attorney Bob Draskovich asked for the stay because there are multiple medical marijuana cases moving through the courts and at least one other judge has expressed concerns about the law’s vagueness, creating a clash of legal opinions.

Because of the conflict, the state’s high court is expected to hear appeals on the cases and either direct the district courts to move forward with trials or force the Legislature to review the statute.

One Nevada law allows medical marijuana cardholders to possess, deliver or produce certain amounts of marijuana for pain relief. However, other state laws make it illegal to buy or sell marijuana, leaving no realistic way for patients to obtain the herb.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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