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Little progress made to carry out medical pot licensing

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Updated: 11/11/2013 6:24 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & AP) -- Cities and counties across Nevada are waiting on the state's instructions to proceed before issuing medical marijuana licenses.

The deadline for figuring out the details is fast approaching.

A study mandated more than a decade ago by Nevada lawmakers on medical use of marijuana has gone nowhere, partly because of the lack of available staff and resources at the University of Nevada School of Medicine to carry it out.

Dr. Jim Kenyon with the medical school told members of the Interim Finance Committee on Thursday that parameters for the study are "problematic," conceding very little progress has been made on advancing the study forward.

The study was ordered in 2001, a year after Nevada voters approved medical marijuana use.

The 2013 Legislature approved a bill establishing a network to distribute and tax medical pot.

Earlier this month the Las Vegas city council discussed licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The council voted to do nothing until the state provides more information.

The state law deadline is April 1, 2014.

That's the deadline to finalize regulations and start awarding licenses beginning with the labs, then cultivators and then dispensaries.

Legislators met in Carson City Thursday which was seen by video conference.

“I believe that we can actually have the regulations adopted by April 1st. We won't have anybody licensed by April 1st that's just not realistic,” said Marla McDade Williams, the deputy administrator with the division of public and behavior health.

Vice Chair Maggie Carlton does not want just primary physicians to write medical marijuana presciptions.

“If you have a medical license in this state, that should be honored and no one should be able to second guess that,” said Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, (D) Las Vegas.

Assemblyman Pat Hickey worried about abuse.

“That we're monitoring how these permits or registry cards are gotten out because that's where there's seemed to be abuse in the system.

Senator Pete Goicoechea worried about the same things as the city of Las Vegas.

“I'm Hearing from local governments that a number of them feel it is against federal law and they are not going to license in their particular jurisdiction and i think that becomes very problematic,” Goicoechea said.

In the end the committee voted to spend money on people yo help with the implementation and tax issues.

There are about 80 to 100 people getting a medical marijuana card every week in Nevada totaling about 4,300.

On Thursday, the money panel approved $520,000 requested by the Department of Taxation to hire programmers and a tax examiner to implement the law.


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