Nevada Preparing Way For Medical Pot Shops - 8 News NOW

Nevada Preparing Way For Medical Pot Shops

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LAS VEGAS -- Twelve years after Nevada voters approved medical marijuana, the state is finally getting the mechanisms in place to sell it.

By the time the dispensaries open in the Silver State, the number of Nevadans carrying medical marijuana cards is expected to increase more than tenfold.

Entrepreneurs looking to cash in are coming out of the woodwork.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom said he's getting call after call from people eager to get into Nevada's medical marijuana business.

"The last one I had was a guy who said, ‘I'm from California, I own all the hot dog stands outside Lowes in the country, I've got a big dispensary in California, I want to come to Nevada and open a dispensary.'"

Senate bill 374, passed in the spring, allows up to 60 medical marijuana dispensaries to be opened throughout the state, including 40 in Clark County.

The dispensaries, operated as private businesses, can sell marijuana and marijuana products to anyone possessing a medical marijuana card.

"They put it into brownies, they put it into popsicles, they have it on patches, that you can actually use it, because a lot of people say, ‘I can't smoke anything,'" Segerblom said. "You don't have to smoke it."

Currently, about 3,500 people in Nevada have cards, including Jennifer Solas and Kurt Duchac.

Solas medicates herself with marijuana to treat chronic pain in her feet.

"Cannabis doesn't take away the pain completely, it just makes me care less about it," she said.

Duchac said he used to take fistfuls of prescription pain medications to combat intense chronic back pain. No more pills for him. He feels better eating cannabis. He cooks it into cani-butter and puts it on his food.

"The pain goes away within seconds," he said. "I was in such severe pain that I would come home from work and lay on a deep freeze ice pack flat on my back. … just so that I could make it to work the next day, cause if I didn't do that, the pain would be so intense in the morning, I couldn't move."

Solas and Duchac said Nevada dispensaries are long overdue.

"This plant has the potential to cure thousands of things ... and they're finding new stuff every day," Duchac said.

Marijuana products sold through Nevada dispensaries will be tested for content, quality and potency and taxed several times over.

Taxes include a 2 percent excise tax when the grower sells to the dispensary, another 2 percent excise tax when it's sold to the patient and the customary 8.1 percent sales tax.

Medical marijuana is expected to generate an estimated $30 million a year in taxes. Nevada is still finalizing the rules, and the dispensaries aren't expected to open until next summer.

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