Pubdate: Sun,  3 Jun 2001
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2001 Nevada Appeal
Author: Geoff Dornan
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Question 9 (NV))


The Senate Human Resources and Facilities committee meets this morning
to vote out the medical marijuana bill. 

Chairman Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, said the bill is essentially the same
one approved by the Assembly. It sets up a registry through the state
Department of Agriculture for people qualified to use marijuana for
medical reasons. They would be those suffering a "chronic and
debilitating" or terminal disease such as AIDS or cancer who have a
doctor's recommendation supporting use of marijuana to relieve their

The bill makes it legal for those people to possess, use and grow small
amounts of marijuana. 

In addition, the measure lowers Nevada's penalties for possession and
use of small amounts of the drug from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

The original bill made it a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and a
gross misdemeanor after that. Rawson said the subcommittee decided that
anyone convicted a fourth time of possession or use should face a felony

Rawson said the major change is the inclusion of a preamble designed to
clarify the state's position and reasons for passing the legislation. 

The preamble cites public support for legalizing medical marijuana in
two successive elections. It points out the potential therapeutic value
of marijuana to alleviate pain, nausea and other symptoms of serious

"While the Legislature respects the important and difficult decisions
the federal government faces in exercising the powers delegated to it by
the United States Constitution to establish policies and rules that are
in the best interest of this nation, the state of Nevada as a sovereign
state has the duty to carry out the will of the people of this state and
to regulate the health, medical practices and well-being of those people
in a manner that respects their personal decisions concerning the relief
of suffering through the medical use of marijuana," the preamble says. 

Rawson said the bill will call for a study of whether or not marijuana
has medical value and ask the state Department of Agriculture to explore
whether federal authorities might grant it permission to establish a
seed bank to provide those people qualified for medical marijuana with a
consistent, pure and controlled supply of the drug. 

Sponsor Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, said she supports the changes. 

Rawson is expected to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate today
after the committee approves the changes.
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