I-Team: Medical Marijuana Faces Delays in Nevada - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Medical Marijuana Faces Delays in Nevada

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LAS VEGAS -- Medical marijuana faces so many delays in Nevada, patients aren't likely to be able to buy any of their medicine until early next year.

The City of Las Vegas and other local governments are looking to the state to come up with marijuana guidelines, but the state is looking to those local governments to do their part, as well. In the end, it looks to be a regulatory traffic jam.

In Nevada, lawmakers and regulators struggle more than a decade after voters first approved medical marijuana. Marla McDade Williams is Nevada's top marijuana rule-maker. She is the deputy administrator with the Nevada State Health Division.

"We're looking at hopefully September by the time the local governments know the applicants that will be coming to them," McDade Williams said. "There's a lot of processes that we have to work through, we still have to hire our staff."

The Nevada Legislature just approved hiring 12 new employees to regulate Nevada's marijuana industry. Once those people are hired, they will have to draft a business application for future pot shops. 

With the City of Las Vegas looking more likely to miss a state-imposed March 17 deadline to write dispensary rules - a regulatory traffic jam could happen.

"If they didn't act and they didn't have anything in place. It could create a conflict with the work that we've been doing," McDade Williams said.

Because marijuana dispensary applications won't likely be finished until September, it will take several months for the first grow operations to set up shop in Las Vegas.

State Senator Debbie Smith says Nevada is looking at Colorado and Arizona with their regulatory models for marijuana. She asks marijuana patients to keep their patience a bit longer.

"Everyone always has to remember that they've been through what we're going through now and we have looked at those other states now for lessons learned," Smith said.

Those new state marijuana regulators won't cost taxpayers much in the long term. The majority of their pay will be paid by what marijuana businesses pay in permits.

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