As of December 31, 2016, there were 25,358 registered medical marijuana patients in the state of Nevada. Currently, Nevada medical marijuana cards are valid for a period of one-year. Now however, with recreational marijuana dispensaries possibly opening this year, state officials are discussing extending the renewal period for patients to two or more years.

 In Interviews, News, Opinion, Patient Resources

As of December 31, 2016, there were 25,358 registered medical marijuana patients in the state of Nevada. Currently, Nevada medical marijuana cards are valid for a period of one-year. Now however, with recreational marijuana dispensaries possibly opening this year, state officials are discussing extending the renewal period for patients to two or more years. Local owner of The+Source medical marijuana dispensary and current president of the Nevada Dispensary Association, Andrew Jolley, has been a huge advocate for extending the life of patient cards. I recently had the chance to speak with Mr. Jolley about this and other issues affecting local patients.

According to Jolley, the goal of the Nevada medical marijuana program is to ensure that medical patients are able to access clean, lab tested medicine at an affordable price. One of the costs incurred by local patients are the fees associated with obtaining and then renewing their card. A patient pays one fee to the recommending physician and then another fee to the State of Nevada for processing. Extending the renewal period to two or more years would remove what has become a burden to many of our sick, low-income and elderly patients. When asked if the State had considered creating a special card for terminal patients that would not need to be renewed, Mr. Jolley indicated he was unaware whether that type of card was considered but did feel it would be beneficial for certain patients.

Another issue affecting local patients is edible safety. In my opinion, there is more to safety of edibles than simply stating that edibles in certain shapes or colors could be appealing to children. Jolley agreed stating “What we need is more consumer education.” Patients that have children should be provided educational information when purchasing product at dispensaries. The fact of the matter is that cannabis-infused edibles could be appealing to children no matter the shape or color. Cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, what’s not to love. Parents, please be mindful when purchasing cannabis-infused edibles, and store them in a locked bag or the bag received when purchasing product at your favorite dispensary if child-proof.

The last thing discussed with Mr. Jolley was the recent bill that Senator Segerblom introduced which would allow businesses and event venues to apply for public consumption permits. If passed, Nevada could soon see cannabis lounges, coffee shops and juice bars. In addition, it would be possible for promoters to coordinate concerts and other events that allow public consumption of cannabis. “I would like to see our society treat medical cannabis like any other type of medicine. Policies and ordinances should allow patients to use discretion about when and where to medicate as long as doing so would not endanger or be obstructive to the public,” says Jolley. In addition, Jolley feels that public consumption permits are necessary in instances where medical patients travel in from other states, shop our local dispensaries, and then find themselves without a proper place to medicate. Regulating cannabis like alcohol should include provisions for public consumption.

Many of our Nevada cardholders have chosen cannabis as medicine after utilizing traditional pharmaceuticals to no avail. We have terminal patients and patients with non-curable diseases for which doctors have nothing left to recommend. We also have quite a few elderly patients that are simply tired of being handed prescription after prescription to treat their ailments. These patients are finally finding relief without the harmful side effects that pharmaceuticals present. We should welcome an adult-use market, as Nevada is in dire need of the tax revenue and quite frankly, recreational cannabis has been alive and well in this state for decades. But as we do, keeping our medical marijuana program intact and keeping in mind the best interest of our patients should be a priority to local lawmakers and industry professionals.

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