Medical marijuana decision won’t affect Nevada, officials say

CARSON CITY — The Obama administration’s decision to no longer prosecute medical marijuana users won’t have any effect in Nevada, which never has had an approved patient face federal charges, state and law enforcement representatives said today.

“In other states, they were prosecuting people at distribution centers, at dispensaries,” said Ben Kieckhefer, a spokesman for the state Health Division. “We never had that in our state. Our law allows people to grow their own.”

Under a voter-approved medical marijuana program set up by the Legislature in 2001, 2,416 Nevadans are registered to grow as many as three mature and four immature marijuana plants. They may possess no more than 1 ounce of usable marijuana at any one time.

Kieckhefer said the number of Nevadans receiving medical marijuana cards has been growing by about 100 per month over the last six months.

These patients are people whose physicians stated in writing that they need marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or other medical problems.

Kieckhefer said the program’s entire $400,000-a-year budget is supported from fees collected by medical marijuana card holders.

While Nevada users have not been prosecuted by the federal government, the state still gives all medical marijuana card holders a warning that they are not exempt from prosecution under federal law.

In other states, notably California, medical marijuana is not grown by patients, but available for purchase at dispensaries.

Some of the dispensaries are veritable marijuana drugstores, with many exotic sounding varieties of marijuana for sale.

Fourteen states have medical marijuana laws.

The federal government has gone after some of those businesses because of allegations that marijuana is sold to people without medical problems.

A U.S. Justice Department memo issued today advises prosecutors not to “focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws …”

U.S. Attorney Dan Bodgen said the administration’s medical marijuana policy, announced by Attorney General Eric Holder, “reinforces our thinking in the district of Nevada.” No medical marijuana patients have been arrested on federal charges in Nevada, he said.

“We haven’t had these kind of cases. We look for drug trafficking operations or major growing operations. Those we prosecute,” Bogden said.

Lt. Laz Chavez, of the Metropolitan Police Department’s narcotics unit, said the medical marijuana program has caused his agency “no problem whatsoever” and he doubts the new directive will affect anything in Nevada.

“We don’t target medical marijuana users as long as they follow our law,” Chavez said.

The law prohibits driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of the drug.

Steve Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed the directive won’t cause dramatic change in Nevada.

“The gist is, if the user is complying with state law they won’t bother you,” said Fox, whose organization has twice put marijuana legalization questions on the state ballot.

Fox said the Marijuana Policy Project is evaluating whether to place another marijuana legalization question on the Nevada ballot in 2010. The 44 percent vote for legalization in 2006, which would have allowed possession of as much as 1 ounce of the drug by any adult, not just patients, was a record high number of support for any state in the nation, he said.

Former Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, who drew up the medical marijuana legislation, said the Justice Department ruling might induce more ill people to grow marijuana and doctors to sign their authorizations.

“The (threat of federal prosecution) was a deterrent for some people who were extremely ill,” added Giunchigliani, now a Clark County commissioner. “It (the Justice Department memo) also will get more physicians (to issue authorizations) as well.”

Maggie McLetchie, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, shared her view.

“Although no one was prosecuted to date, there was always the risk,” she said. “We think this is an important development. The voters in Nevada have spoken and said it should be legal. We think medical marijuana is best left to the states.”

Giunchigliani still favors a dispensary system where pharmacies or hospitals would give out medical marijuana.

She had proposed such a system in 2001, but it was rejected by other legislators. The Department of Agriculture could grow the marijuana and the state could earn income on the sales, she said.

Would-be Nevada patients who want to grow marijuana now are on their own in finding a physician who will write an authorization that they should receive medical marijuana cards.

But the names of doctors who are willing to grant such requests often are found on the advertising pages of free weekly newspapers. No doctors in Nevada have ever been prosecuted for doing that for patients who don’t need the drug.

In addition, there are Web sites, such as drreefer.com, that will put patients in contact with willing doctors for a fee. The site is operated by Reyna Barnett and her son, Pierre Werner.

Werner is a former medical marijuana patient who was arrested and imprisoned by the state for growing more marijuana plants than permitted under Nevada law.

Chavez said Werner would not have been arrested if he had followed the limits on the number of marijuana plants that can be grown.

Nevada medical marijuana users also must find their own seeds, a tricky situation since marijuana use is illegal for everyone but them.

Dozens of Web sites, however, offer marijuana seeds for sale, along with literature on growing the plants.

Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Nevada by other than a medical marijuana card holder is subject to a $600 fine.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

 

ad-high_impact_4
News
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care
Parents of autistic child talk about their experience waiting for care. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge
Donald Trump Calls Out James Comey After Book Details Emerge The President took to Twitter to criticize the former FBI director as information emerges from Comey’s new book, ‘A Higher Loyalty’. According to 'The New York Times', Comey describes Trump in the book as “unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, via The New York Times A Higher Loyalty hits stores on April 17.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
Endangered Devils Hole Pupfish numbers enough for concern, but not panic
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Death Valley National Park came together at Devils Hole, about 90 miles west of Las Vegas, for a biannual count of the Devils Hole Pupfish, an endangered species. Their count this time – 87. (Video by Patrick Connolly)
Hickey Elementary Students Put Harry Potter on Trial
Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School students learned how the judicial system works by putting Harry Potter on trial for the illegal use of magic.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
The Clark County Museum Turns 50 This Month
The Clark County Museum has an extensive collection, dating back to prehistoric times in Southern Nevada up through the present day. It was first established in April 1968 and has had several locations before it's current home on South Boulder Highway.
Route 91 Artifacts Will Be On Display This October
Clark County Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton explains what artifacts will be on display in October as part of the museums Route 91 shooting memorial exhibit called "How We Mourned."
Bullet grazes woman's head
Las Vegas police investigating calls of a shooting early Friday morning found a woman who suffered a wound to her head. A bullet grazed the woman's head while she was inside her Village Square apartment on Nellis Oasis Lane. She did not have to be hospitalized, and police said she might have been an "unintended" victim. The shooting occurred around 4 a.m. Police are looking for the shooter.
Aces Host Draft Party
The Las Vegas Aces host a WNBA draft party at the Mandalay Bay for season-ticket holders, and have the number one overall pick.
Las Vegas man stands with president at White House
President Donald Trump delivered remarks in the Rose Garden Thursday about how the GOP tax cut plan helped working families across the country. To his left stood Richard Kerzetski, president of Universal Plumbing & Heating Co. in Las Vegas. Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Transgender Man Running for Assembly District 42
U.S. Army veteran La Don Henry is hoping to become Nevada’s first openly transgender state legislator.
Erik Weihenmayer is the First Blind Person to Summit Mount Everest
Erik Weihenmayer talks about how he first got into mountaineering in 1995 with the ascent of Denali, the tallest peak in North America, and what he loves about climbing.
New Theater Coming to Neonopolis
Ken Henderson explains his concept for Notoriety, a 57,000-square-foot theater complex on the third floor of Neonopolis intended to host comedy, music and theater acts.
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like