Las Vegas Sun

October 8, 2015

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ACLU says Nevada law restricting sale of medical marijuana unconstitutional

CARSON CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union says Nevada’s medical marijuana law is unconstitutional because it restricts people from filling a legal prescription.

In a brief filed Friday with the Nevada Supreme Court, the ACLU says the law makes criminals of people “who make reasonable efforts” to obtain medical marijuana. While medical marijuana is legal in Nevada, it cannot legally be purchased.

Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, introduced a bill Monday to set up a system of nonprofit dispensaries to distribute the drug to those with legitimate prescriptions. Six Nevada lawmakers are in Arizona today examining how that state regulates the distribution of marijuana.

The ACLU brief supports the decision of Clark County District Court Judge Donald Mosley, who ruled the Nevada law invalid in the case of two men indicted in connection with the operation of a nonprofit co-op to dispense the drug.

“There is no practical way to obtain medical marijuana in the state of Nevada,” said Katrina M. Ross, staff attorney for the ACLU in Las Vegas. She noted that in 1998 voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow a person, upon the advice of a physician, to obtain medical marijuana for use in a variety of illnesses, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV and multiple sclerosis.

The brief says the two men indicted by a Clark County grand jury “were prosecuted for behavior that is constitutionally protected.”

After Mosley dismissed the indictment, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which has not yet set a hearing date.

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