Assemblyman Tick Segerblom wants to propose a bill that will set the stage for the creation of marijuana dispensaries and farms across Nevada, and also tax them. The Las Vegas democrat is modeling his proposal after a similar system already in place in Colorado.
“They have a mechanism where the patient can actually obtain marijuana,” says Segerblom. “The problem with our law is that you’re allowed to possess it, but you’re not allowed to purchase it. If you can’t purchase it, how are you going to get it? So we’re basically in a Catch-22.”
Beginning in 2010, the state of Colorado decided to regulate medical marijuana more closely. Shortly after that, the industry gained more legitimacy, and the number of medical marijuana centers went from 50 to more than 500.
“One of the big things that gave a lot of people confidence in our system is the fact that there is constant oversight – we call it ‘seed to sale monitoring,’” says Chris Sederberg of Sensible Colorado, a non-profit that advocates for medical marijuana reform. “Basically there’s a camera system on the seed all the way to the sale of the end product to the patients getting their marijuana. It’s a very onerous system. It definitely discourages abuse.”
Segerblom envisions a similar model in Nevada, including oversight at both the state and local levels.
“You get a license from the state, a license from the local city or county,” says Segerblom. “You have to create a store, there would be cameras everywhere. There is a process to make sure that if you don’t grow it there, that when you purchase it you purchase it from another source which is heavily regulated, and when someone wants to obtain the marijuana they would have to have the license and you would have the ability to verify that.”
Regardless of current state laws for medical marijuana or the future of Nevada’s, in May the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marijuana was an illegal controlled substance, meaning that just because state laws allow it, doesn’t mean the federal government can’t prosecute for it.
Federal interference doesn’t seem to concern Segerblom.
“I do feel that in places where it’s demonstrated to be under control, like Colorado, that the administration has stayed out of it,” says the assemblyman. “In Nevada we are big on state rights, so I would anticipate that the fact that the federal government is threatening us would be an impetus for us to do whatever we want to do. We want to show the U.S. that they can’t tell us what to do. So I would anticipate getting a lot of Republican support, just on that basis alone.”
The introduction of Segerblom’s medical marijuana bill hinges on the ability of the assemblyman to win his contest for state senate.