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Nevada medical marijuana group grows

CARSON CITY – The number of Nevadans with permission to use medical marijuana has skyrocketed to 3,430.

The state Health Division reported Monday that the number of people with medical marijuana cards who have the right to grow their own has climbed by 1,143 in the past year.

That number probably would increase dramatically again if Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, is successful in his attempt to change how marijuana is distributed in the state. Last week he announced he will introduce a bill next year to create marijuana dispensaries and farms to provide pot to patients and that he wants the state to tax the drug.

Now medical marijuana card holders have to grow their own, although there is no legal way even to acquire the seeds and some of them aren’t good gardeners. Card holders may possess 1 ounce of marijuana and have three mature and four immature plants.

Patients need permission from a doctor to use the drug. Most have said they suffer from pain. In all, 394 doctors have given people permission to use the drug, countering an argument that just a few zealot physicians are letting people smoke marijuana legally.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and busts have occurred around the country. But President Barack Obama in the spring advised federal drug authorities to concentrate on big marijuana producers, not people with medical marijuana cards.

Las Vegas police also indicated that they do not arrest Nevadans with marijuana cards who follow the state law.

Legislators approved the state medical marijuana law after two elections where residents overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment. Voters have twice rejected ballot questions that would legalize use of the drug by any adults, not just for medical reasons.

For information on the medical marijuana program and obtaining a card, visit the state Health Division’s website: http://health.nv.gov/MedicalMarijuana.htm.

For information on obtaining a doctor’s permission to use the drug for medical purposes, call the Wellness Center in Henderson at 428-0000, or visit the website: wellnesscenterlv.com.

Applicants must have valid Nevada identification.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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