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April 18, 2014

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Medical marijuana bill might have unexpected extra $2 million cost for state

Governor approves two other laws, promises to veto another

There may be a $2 million unanticipated cost to the state in the bill to create a distribution system for medical marijuana in Nevada.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday that staff in the Legislature and in the state Taxation Department are looking at the bill to determine if there could be unexpected hit.

Senate Bill 374 would permit the opening of private dispensaries across the state to serve patients who have prescriptions from doctors to acquire marijuana to help in their treatments.

A person would apply to the state Health Division for a license to operate a clinic. There would be a background check and a $5,000 nonrefundable fee for processing the license.

In an interview, the governor also confirmed he intended to veto a seperate bill that requires background checks of persons who buy guns from another individual. The governor, in a previous message, said he supported a bill to stop the sale of guns to those with mental problems.

Senate Bill 221 would require a person and the individual who wants to buy the weapon to go to a licensed gun dealer and submit a request for a background check.

The governor said he has not yet prepared his veto message.

In a ceremony attended by about 30 people Thursday, the governor signed two bills toughening the laws on sex trafficking.

He praised Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for leading the efforts to get this legislation passed.

Sandoval said these bills will protect many people now and in generations to come.

Cortez Masto said this was one of the most important laws approved in her two terms in office. This legislation, she said is about young people and saving lives.

It gives her office the authority to prosecute these cases and she will be working with police.

One bill, Assembly Bill 67 provides that a judge may not place a person convicted of pandering or sex trafficking on probation. And an offender living off the earnings of the prostitute will be required to pay restitution to the victim.

The second bill, AB-311 creates a contingency account for the victims of these crimes. Masto said there is federal money and other sources of funds to help these women.

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