Pubdate: Thu, 26 May 2016
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2016 Las Vegas Review-Journal
Author: Doug Elfman


Workers with the state of Nevada are using regulatory power to stop 
many cancer patients from getting medical marijuana, in an effort to 
curb pot tourists from California.

By law, Nevada allows visitors from other states to use their home 
state's medical marijuana cards to buy medical weed at dispensaries. 
This is called "reciprocity."

As much as half of Nevada dispensary business comes from reciprocity, 
especially from California, where doctors typically hand patients 
paperwork instead of making them go fetch state-issued ID cards.

What happened, inevitably, is some doctors online, and some in 
Nevada, began issuing California doctor recommendations to patients 
who showed them passports, which appeared to be within legal bounds, 
until regulators at the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral 
Health started telling dispensaries they can no longer accept 
California patients bearing doctor recs without stateissued pot cards.

That halted legitimate patients from buying medicine from dispensaries.

And the dispensaries need California money for business, because the 
state made dispensaries spend millions on fees after waiting 15 years 
for politicians to abide by a 2000 voter referendum approving medical 

What's more, the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health this 
month reportedly spent taxpayer dollars funding a group of 
anti-marijuana speakers to rally in Reno and in Las Vegas at events 
called "Marijuana Summit: What Health Care Professionals, Law 
Enforcement Officers, Employers and Members of the Court Need to Know."

"I think it's really pathetic that the Division is picking winners 
and losers," Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, said Wednesday.

Fiore cast one of the key votes which gave medical marijuana the 
two-thirds legislative support to make medical pot happen. She 
castigated the Division's "burdensome" "overregulation."

"My one vote - that's why we have medical marijuana in this state, 
and I'm standing by that. If our board wants to get in the way of 
legislators, then I highly suggest they run for office and get 
elected," Fiore said.

Fiore said we should follow the money regarding anti-marijuana 
powers, because prison lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies benefit 
by forcing cannabis users to buy on the street instead of in dispensaries.

"There's a lot of nonviolent, victimless people in prison right now 
with marijuana," said Fiore, an advocate to reform the prison state.

Nevada Sen. Patricia Farley, R-Las Vegas, said lawmakers have been 
working on this issue and hope to have it fixed soon, while 
addressing the California ambiguity in pot law.

"In all honesty, they are working with us to try to resolve this," 
Farley said of the Division.

A Division spokeswoman told me she would have to get back to me with 
answers to two questions: Who was behind putting an end to California 
doctor recommendations; and how much taxpayer money was spent on 
those marijuana summits?

Meanwhile, Nevada voters appear headed to approve recreational 
marijuana on the November ballot. An AP poll found 61 percent of 
Americans favor recreational marijuana, while a Harris Poll found 81 
percent of Americans support medical marijuana.

Las Vegas is already a marijuana hub, in a way. Not only is weed 
popular in the entertainment community (and the health care 
community, and many other industries), casinos stage weed-centric 
acts constantly, from reggae to rappers, rockers and their fans.


Mirage headliner Jim Norton, famous for cracking jokes about his 
sexual appetite, floored me with news he's cutting back on "the 
deviant sexual stuff," which is deviant enough that this newspaper 
wouldn't print many of his funniest jokes.

In the comedy world, this is like when Dave Attell gave up hard boozing.

Norton's porn addiction got so serious, there have been times he's 
begun activating porn with a goal in mind, even though he is 
scheduled to go perform on stage, and he'll think, "What am I doing? Insanity!"

"It is scary, because you start to think of yourself as that thing, 
like, 'What am I going to be without that?' But that's how addictive 
thinking gets us. It convinces us that it's a part of who we are, and 
it's not. It's this unhealthy thing we're doing to run away from who we are."

Norton, a star on SiriusXM's "Opie Radio," performs Friday at the 
Mirage ($33-$54). Norton's change of course won't affect his standup 
yet, because this is pretty new to him. And he's still dabbling.

"I'm certainly not perfect. I'm not saying I never watch that stuff. 
But I'm making a real effort," he said.

There was no eureka moment. He just got worn out.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom