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Medical marijuana dispensary bill passes Assembly on party line vote

Image

Ted S. Warren / AP

Jake Dimmock, co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary, waters plants Oct. 10, 2012, in Seattle.

Updated Monday, June 3, 2013 | 10:47 p.m.

After a malfunctioning reader board threw its future into question, a bill that would create a legal medical marijuana dispensary system in Nevada passed the Assembly in a nearly party-line vote.

The Assembly voted twice on the measure, Senate Bill 374, because on the first try the electronic board that displays how the votes are cast read that the bill had failed despite the 28-14 vote, the necessary two-thirds vote for passage. Seeing a failing vote, two Democrats changed their vote so they could bring it back up for consideration.

"Is that the right vote?" a confused Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, asked.

The Democratic majority had delayed the vote in the Assembly until Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, who is being treated for cancer, was well enough to participate.

The surprise apparent defeat of the measure sent lawmakers scurrying to figure out why the vote went wrong.

It was quickly determined that the original vote was correct, but the board displayed it improperly.

A second vote was taken and the measure passed without issue.

"I've seen how medical marijuana has touched many people's lives," Assemblyman Andy Martin, D-Las Vegas, said. "I urge its passage."

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was the lone Republican to back the measure.

The rest of her caucus opposed the measure, worrying that the unscrupulous may take advantage of the dispensary system.

The bill is now headed to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has declined to take a position on the measure. His spokeswoman said he would review the bill when it arrives.

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