Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 3:45 p.m.
CARSON CITY — A bill to allow medical marijuana dispensaries easily passed the Senate on Wednesday.
Backers said the measure, approved 17-4, establishes procedures to comply with a constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2000 that allows the use of medical marijuana.
The bill would allow 40 clinics in the Las Vegas area, 20 in Reno, two in Carson City and one in each of Nevada’s remaining rural counties.
Sen. Mark Hutchinson, R-Las Vegas, said law enforcement was “comfortable” with the bill, which now goes to the Assembly. He noted that courts are dismissing cases in which businesses have been accused of illegally dispensing the drug.
The state Board of Pharmacy will regulate the dispensaries.
Speaking against the bill, Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said the proposed legislation conflicts with federal law, which holds that the distribution of marijuana is illegal.
The cost for a dispensary license will be $20,000, plus an annual renewal fee of $5,000. There are extra fees to cultivate marijuana and sell edible marijuana products.
Licensing would begin in January, if the bill becomes law.