Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) May 03, 2013
As SB374 makes its way through the legislative process in Carson City, local supporters prepare for its likely passing by working overtime to dispel misconceptions about the medical marijuana industry. Nevada voters first approved the use of medical marijuana in 2000 with an impressive 65% supporting the measure. The current law, however, is confusing and makes it difficult for patients to access medical marijuana. The proposed legislation, currently under review, will provide licensing for a limited number of tightly-regulated, state-approved cultivation facilities and dispensaries, making it easier and safer for patients in Nevada to access medical marijuana.
“Essentially, the current legislation is broken,” explains Jay Matos of Las Vegas, a supporter of the bill. “It makes patients feel like criminals and it makes it very difficult for them to have access to safe, quality medication.” Currently, patients are allowed to grow up to seven plants on their own, but acquiring and possessing seeds is still illegal and the growing process can be very complicated for the unknowledgeable patient. Explains Matos, “It’s essentially like asking a patient with high blood pressure to manufacture their own blood pressure medication at home. It just doesn’t make sense. Additionally, home cultivation can create a dangerous situation. Metro police and local fire departments have repeatedly expressed safety concerns over home growers. It’s a serious issue in our community.”
The proposed legislation, a bi-partisan effort spearheaded by Senator Tick Segerblom (D) and Senator Mark Hutchison (R), will provide licensing and regulation for 65 dispensaries in Nevada, 40 of which will be located in Southern Nevada. “It is really nice to see politicians from both parties working on this legislation,” says Matos. “This is an important issue and I want to support our representatives by working with them to educate the public.”
Matos has created The Clark County Community Care Coalition, a non-profit organization that will provide resources regarding the medical marijuana industry in Southern Nevada. The group will help educate the community about state and municipal laws relating to medical marijuana, provide resources for patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana and help ensure that licensed dispensaries are compliant with all government and state regulations. “A major misconception is that if this legislation passes, anyone will be able to open a dispensary with ease. That’s just not the case,” explains Matos, “Among other things, dispensary owners will have to meet a long list of specific state and municipal requirements.”
Kurt Barrick, a Las Vegas resident and industry expert, also supports the proposed legislation and regulations. Barrick serves as CEO of The VonDank Group, a medical marijuana consulting company that designs, builds and manages state-of-the-art cultivation facilities and dispensaries in all legal states. “Not only do patients deserve the right to access medication but they also deserve the regulations and standards that will be put in place to protect them,” explains Barrick. The VonDank Group works with clients to help provide cultivation and production facilities that meet, and in some cases exceed, the same standards the FDA uses to regulate the pharmaceutical industry. “We are already receiving calls from investors and potential dispensary applicants in Nevada and we expect to hear from many more when the legislation passes,” he says, “These are exciting times, we can help patients gain access to clean, quality-regulated medication and we should also consider what a great economic impact this industry will have. As we all know, that is something Nevada can really use right now.”
Information from Arizona backs up Barrick’s claim. Based on projections provided by the neighboring state, by 2016 the medical marijuana industry there will directly employ over 1,500 people and provide over $74 million in direct employee income while generating over $990 million in residual economic activity. “This is an exciting time for our state,” says Matos of the proposed legislation, which will soon be reviewed by a Senate Finance Committee. “I’m confident this bill will pass; our representatives in Carson City are extremely dedicated and are an example for the nation on how to put politics aside and work together for the people, not only did they take time to get educated on this issue, but they care about patients in Nevada, our economy and doing what is right.”