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Nevada Attorney General Wants to Restrict Out-of-State Doctor Recommendations

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada are allowed to legally sell cannabis to visitors who possess a valid authorization card issued in other states, but the state’s top attorney believes that dispensaries should no longer be able to accept California doctors’ recommendation letters.

attorneyAttorney General Adam Laxalt sent a letter to state health department Director Richard Whitley in late July saying that out-of-state residents should not be allowed to use a California physician’s note to purchase medical marijuana in lieu of a state-issued medical marijuana identification card.

While most states issue mandatory identification cards to medical marijuana patients, California does not require patients to register with the state. State issued medical marijuana identification cards are available to California residents for a fee, but registration is completely voluntary. Under California law, a letter from a doctor recommending medical marijuana use is sufficient when combined with a valid photo identification such as a drivers’ license.

“Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, one of the primary legislative supporters of medical marijuana in Nevada, told the Sun that she favors keeping California physician notes as part of the reciprocity measure, against Laxalt’s recommendation.”

“A recommendation from a California physician and a driver’s license from another state cannot be used to obtain medical marijuana from a Nevada dispensary,” Laxalt said in his letter. “According to [state law], a dispensary may only recognize a non-resident card or other identification if the card or other identification is issued by a state or jurisdiction other than Nevada and that identification is the functional equivalent of a Nevada registry identification card.”

Lexalt also said that Nevada residents should not be allowed to use a copy of their completed medical marijuana application to purchase cannabis while awaiting approval. Dispensary operators in Nevada called the recommendation “insignificant” as most applicants receive same-day approval. A copy of an approved application is valid for up to 60 days, or until the patient receives their state-issued medical marijuana card in the mail.

statesThe recommendation of the Attorney General’s Office doesn’t automatically change the law. If and until that happens, it is up to dispensary operators to set their own policies — for now.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, potential action on the Attorney General’s recommendation by health department regulators and lawmakers won’t happen immediately, but changes could be official in coming weeks.

Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, one of the primary legislative supporters of medical marijuana in Nevada, told the Sun that she favors keeping California physician notes as part of the reciprocity measure, against Laxalt’s recommendation.

Nevada first legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2000, but dispensaries were not authorized to operate until lawmakers passed Senate Bill 374 in 2013. The first dispensaries in the state opened last August.

Citations & References

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  1. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3001451/Opinion-No-2016-05-HHS-Medical-Marijuana-Program.pdf

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