New Nevada Rules Aim To Stimulate MMJ Market

20582973_sNevada’s medical marijuana law for dispensaries and growing facilities was approved two years ago, but it is only now that the state may actually see a marijuana sale.

The 2013 law, despite aiming to make MMJ more accessible to patients, did not encourage dispensaries and grow operations to open. According to Sen. Tick Segerblom, a known cannabis advocate, the state’s marijuana law had issues stemming from the way it was written.

But Nevada’s legislators have “learned over the last two years,” said Segerblom, and their recent session addressed the legal issues by coming up with several new bills.

First, Senate Bill 276 would give cannabis entrepreneurs more flexibility by allowing investors to transfer or sell their interest in a cannabis operation to another party – something that the previous law did not allow. This means that marijuana businesses would be able to bring in new investors for capital or to cash out their shareholders who wish to leave the business. Marijuana establishments may also change locations, as long as they are in the same jurisdiction for their license.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 447 tweaked some criminal statutes around marijuana, such as those dealing with counterfeit patient registration cards and production of cannabis concentrates. In terms of noncriminal matters, the bill most importantly allows the use of certain pesticides for cannabis growing operations. This is common in other states like California and Colorado, but was previously not allowed in Nevada.

Finally, Assembly Bill 70 intends to help marijuana businesses by allowing them to use third-party vendors in their operations. Under the previous law, only employees, volunteers, and patients were allowed to step into a dispensary or growing facility. With this new bill, third-party contractors that are registered with the state may be hired by multiple businesses at the same time.

Segerblom believes legislature has “made major improvements”, adding that the new rules are “about helping businesspeople [instead of just] making marijuana more available.”

He also said that the goal is to get cannabis businesses running by 2016, when Nevada voters will choose whether to legalize recreational cannabis in the state. Voters need “to see what it’s like” and understand that “these are not bad operations,” said Segerblom.

Already, there are signs that the state’s marijuana industry is coming out of its growing pains. For instance, a dispensary in Las Vegas called Euphoria Wellness is planning its opening in the coming weeks.

Segerblom added that Nevada is “perfectly situated” to launch a recreational marijuana market and even marijuana tourism, taking advantage of these as a major revenue generator. He cited the recently launched markets in Colorado and Washington, which have been producing huge tax revenues for those states.

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