Expo sheds light on security, stigma of medical marijuana - 8 News NOW

Expo sheds light on security, stigma of medical marijuana

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Credit: KLAS/Lauren Rozyla Credit: KLAS/Lauren Rozyla

LAS VEGAS — While Nevada is getting closer to allowing people to buy and sell medical marijuana there remains one large risk — safety. How do you transport the cash? And how do you protect workers and patients from thieves? 

The first annual Marijuana/Cannabis Industry Expo is being held in Las Vegas, with a focus on "Green to Green" — teaching people how to begin or support a medical marijuana business.

People like Sierra Riddle know the power of medical marijuana because, she says, it saved her son's life.

"This is real. This is helping children," she said. For people like Riddle, they want to know the dispensaries they are buying from are regulated and protected.

"If you don't have a safe place to get medicine, you will find it. You will do what you have to do to save your child."

According to WECAN, an advocacy group, Nevada state law requires a dispensary's security plan to be a part of its business plan. It encourages 24-hour camera surveillance.

But, some security firms, like MPS International, say that's not enough. Six months ago they went from helping secure traditional businesses to cannabis facilities.

"If there's a dispensary that's got an armed guard and there's one that doesn't, they're going to go to the one without," said Michael Julian. MPS encourages armored cars to transport both cash and product, adding it will help patients feel safe, too.

Meanwhile, Riddle says she's fighting the stigma of giving a child cannabis and feels like she's winning.

"Now, to see all of the parents coming, they're not scared anymore," she said.

Riddle says the more security these facilities are, the more comfortable other parents will be buying medical cannabis. 

There's still some time before you'll see medical pot dispensaries and grow houses open across the valley. Clark County leaders recently approved 18 dispensary licenses and more than 100 land-use licenses for cultivation facilities. 

All of those licenses must still be approved by the state. That process is set to begin in August.

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