CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- State officials say
they're unaware of any impending moves by the Justice Department
against Nevada's medical marijuana program that began Oct. 1. The
federal agency is trying to block the growing and distribution of
marijuana for medical purposes in California, but state officials
said Nevada's law is different and less likely to provoke similar
action here. The law passed by the 2001 Legislature authorizes people
with terminal illnesses or nausea associated with those illnesses to
grow a modest amount of marijuana for their own use.

Paul Iverson, director of the state Department of Agriculture which
administers the new state program, said distribution of marijuana
isn't an issue in Nevada.

Unlike California, where clubs for growing and distributing marijuana
exist, Nevada's program involves only the patient or the patient's
caregiver, Iverson said.

Gina Session, the deputy attorney general advising the state Board of
Agriculture which adopted the marijuana regulations in August, said a
limit of one ounce of usable marijuana, a maximum of seven plants and
other restrictions make Nevada's law much lower-profile than
California's program. "There's no indication of any enforcement
action that I'm aware of," she said. Nevada's program, which has 12
participants so far with another 600 requests for applications,
doesn't exempt patients from federal prosecution. It only prohibits
enforcement by law enforcement of state drug laws. The Agriculture
Department doesn't provide seeds or marijuana or advice on where to
get seeds or how to grow the plant. It only processes the
applications.

Dan Geary, the co-campaign director for Question 7 on the 2000 ballot
authorizing a medical marijuana program, said enforcement in Nevada
is unlikely. "We have a grow-your-own type of statute," he said.
"Cultivation is put in the hands of the patients. A crackdown on
cultivation and distribution in Nevada is a moot point."

A favorable ruling for the Justice Department in the U.S. Supreme
Court decision involving the Oakland, Calif., Cannabis Buyers' Club
earlier this year didn't challenge a state's right to determine its
own possession laws. Instead, it focused on the medical necessity
exception to federal prosecution, Geary said.

Since possession remains a federal crime in Nevada, the issue in the
Oakland case doesn't apply here, he said.



Newshawk: Ellen Komp
Pubdate: Thu, 01 Nov 2001
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2001 Associated Press
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?163 (Question 9 (NV))
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?115 (Cannabis - California)