Las Vegas Sun

March 3, 2015

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sandoval says pot shouldn’t be legal for recreational use, but he’s open to dispensaries


Andrew Doughman

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore inspects the product and learns about the different uses for and varieties of marijuana during a trip to a dispensary in Arizona on Friday, March 22, 2013.

Updated Thursday, April 11, 2013 | 9:27 a.m.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said this week that he’s against the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use, but he’s open to seeing a proposal for dispensaries for medical marijuana.

“I don’t support the decriminalization of marijuana,” the Republican governor said Tuesday after a meeting at the Capitol. “The issue when medical marijuana was approved by the people was the accessibility. Under the current structure, you can only grow your own.”

He said he doesn’t necessarily support the status quo but wants to know more specifics about a proposed amendment to the bill before committing to anything.

“I guess I need to know what the system would be,” he said. “As long as it is prescribed by a physician and if accessibility is an issue, I’m waiting to see what the form is.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, has said he’s confident his bill will at least get to a full vote in the Senate.

Indeed, the bill passed unanimously from the Senate Judiciary Committee today, with four Democrats and three Republicans voting in favor of it.

The senator has argued it’s high time that Nevadans have a reasonable way to exercise their state constitutional right to use medical marijuana. He has said that dispensaries would allow for easy distribution to those who have a medical reason to use marijuana; under the current system, patients must basically grow their own and cannot legally obtain seeds.

Segerblom has gone to great lengths, including taking legislators to an Arizona medical marijuana dispensary, to gain bipartisan support for the proposal.

To bolster his argument, Segerblom also has a new study from California Capitol Solutions that estimates that the bill would increase the number of medical marijuana cardholders in Nevada by tens of thousands because the law would make it less onerous to obtain medical marijuana.

The study also estimates that the dispensary system could bring in $33 million to the state.

Meanwhile, the governor’s comments cast doubt on the viability of the full legalization proposal from Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas.

Both Hogan’s bill and Segerblom’s already face two high hurdles to reach the governor’s desk. They need a two-thirds majority vote to pass the Senate and Assembly.

Hogan’s bill may not make it out of the Assembly Judiciary committee.

“A lot of people have some hang-ups,” he said.

He said he’s trying to tell his colleagues that legalizing, regulating and taxing the recreational use of marijuana could bring the state between $400 million and $600 million at a time when legislators are looking for more money to pay for education programs.

He said that although Nevada voters have rejected legalizing marijuana in the past, that should not get in the way of today’s public opinion.

A recent national survey showed that the majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 8 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Legalize it and tax it. The war on drugs has wasted billions of tax dollars and accomplished NOTHIHG!

    Face the reality, like we did with prohibition and stop wasting time talking and talking.

  2. It is easy to understand Governor Sandoval's reservations about legalizing marijuana for open use. First is the USA "War on Drugs," which has FEDERAL laws criminalizing marijuana, its use, and distribution. The Federal laws would have to be considered, especially when states received funding from the Federal government with endless "strings" attached to that funding.

    States are exercising "State's rights" by over-riding Federal laws or mandates. There are a handful of states that are charting new waters by their state's voters deciding the issue. Time will tell the outcome: will states succomb to masses of derilect pot smokers who simply contribute nothing but problems and crime, or will folks suffer no harm from marijuana useage?

    Marijuana useage is akin to use of intoxicants as alcohol (without the hazard of calories and gaining weight). One shouldn't be intoxicated when at work or driving. It is commonsense. I disagree with Commenter Truthserum's statement, "marijuanna is a DANGEROUS gateway drug" as the real danger is truly mental illness in our society, that opens the door to harm. The USA has a nearly nonexistent mental health system due to underfunding and poorly written laws. People are just beginning to wake up to this reality with recent tragic events in the news.

    Whether or not a career politician as Nevada's Governor condones legalized marijuana, this may soon become an issue that the state's voters decide, which is how it should be, not one man or one group of people, but the whole body of People that inhabit and live in the state. For Sandoval to approve of marijuana, affects his CAREER for higher political office, how that identifies HIM.

    Blessings and Peace,

  3. Of course "pot" should be legal for adults as should all "recreational" drugs. Having said that, I think anyone using any "recreational" drug has to have his/her head examined. It can only lead to misery and addiction and will not solve any mental, emotional or conceptual problem of the user. The bigger picture, to me, is, are we truly free to make our own choices or is the nanny-state so ingrained in us that we willingly will give up our personal rights? When it comes to "recreational" drugs, tax them, regulate them, and educate users and would-be users about their inherent danger, but do not restrict the freedom of adults to choose to be stupid.

  4. When the conservatives say that they are in favor of 'limited government', this invariably means 'limited to their ideas'.

  5. I'm not surprised by Sandovl's position. Federal marijuana laws are the equivalent of full employment for federal prosecutors at no risk.

  6. In a state that is synonymous with 'sin'...

    which derives the majority of it's income by 'gaming' people out of their cash...

    and where whore houses are an actual 'industry'...

    and it's largest metropolis is the equivalent of Sodom & Gomorrah...

    We should make a 'moral stand' about Mary Juana use???

    Some peeps sure have funny notions.

    Meanwhile, folks in Washington & Colorado are turning their new legal weed status into burgeoning tourism industries and making plans for how to use the new tax revenue...

    But we better sends the wrong message...

  7. "Gov. Brian Sandoval said this week that he's against the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use, but he's open to seeing a proposal for dispensaries for medical marijuana."

    Then our governor needs to be reminded of his oath of office to the source of his authority, the Constitutions.

    "...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (slip opinion at 64) (2008)

  8. It should be argued that alcohol and marijuana be accorded equal legal status. The idea that alcohol should be 'grandfathered in' and pot banned is silly. Either substance produces at least a mildly altered state of mind, with alcohol seeming to have a greater potential for abuse. If the Governor would propose banning both substances, then at least he would be consistent.