Dana Metz felt as excited as a kid in a candy store when he finally got her hands on legal pot. Already retired at 64 years old, Metz suffers from anxiety, insomnia, and back pain.
“It smells good in there,” he said. “It’s great. It’s clean. It’s very professional. Everything is labeled, and the people are knowledgeable and very helpful.”
Metz was just one of around 75 people with medical marijuana cards who lined up outside Silver State Relief, a medical marijuana supply store located east of downtown Reno, to be among the first to buy pot in the state. These people are not the typical stoners, but normal people who use weed as medicine.
Nevada first legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2000, but it was only last August 1 when the first legal pot was sold to Nevadans because the law had not established a system of distributing the drug until 2013.
“The politicians just didn’t have the will to do what the people wanted,” said state Senator Tick Segerblom. “Why the Legislature could not get behind this blows my mind.”
Lots of red tape
According to marijuana analyst Karmen Hanson, it takes an average of nine to 18 months for medical marijuana stores to open following legislative approval. Most of the licensed shops in other states are still up and operational even after two years.
While Nevada has already distributed many of its 66 marijuana dispensary licenses, it remains unclear when these shops will open in Las Vegas and other parts of the state. Part of the problem, it seems, is the state’s strict rules, largely based on Colorado’s system.
The marijuana regulations in Nevada include “seed-to-sale” tracking of marijuana so that the source is known, preventing black market marijuana from entering the system. The Department of Agriculture is also finalizing the first pesticide testing system in the country.
“We tried to write the law that would be the gold standard for the country,” said Will Adler, the executive director of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Association. He believes that the strict rules can become a model for other states.
Do you think the implementation of medical marijuana in different states can go a bit faster? Share your views in the comments section below.