On November 7, 2000, 65 percent of Nevada voters approved Question 9, which amended the states’ constitution to recognize and regulate the medical use of marijuana. The law removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana by patients with written documentation from a state-licensed physician prescribing marijuana to help alleviate his or her condition. As states across the nation make strides to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, many individuals may wonder if there are any real differences or benefits for medical cannabis cardholders. The answer is yes – there exist many benefits for medical cannabis cardholders in comparison to those using recreational marijuana. From potency to dosage and from access to affordability, patients can find plenty of support for their ongoing care on the medical side of the cannabis industry.
Read on to learn more about the legalities around medical marijuana use, possession and consumption, benefits of getting a medical marijuana card and how to go about getting a medical card in the state of Nevada.
Medical Marijuana Patient Information
MedicalMarijuana.com states that under Nevada medical marijuana law, only a person with a qualifying debilitating medical condition who has obtained a valid Nevada Medical Marijuana Program card (also referred to as medical marijuana card) is exempted from criminal laws of the state for engaging in the medical use of marijuana. Other important laws to follow and be aware of as a medical marijuana patient include:
- Patients or their primary caregivers may legally possess no more than one ounce of medical marijuana.
- Patients will not be able to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card if they hold a Commercial Drivers License.
- Nevada is the only state in the country that will recognize medical marijuana cards from other states. Patients from California, Arizona and anywhere else medical marijuana is legal will be able to shop at Nevada dispensaries while visiting.
- Patients can grow up to 12 plants if they register the address of where they are growing and list all the occupants with the state.
- Patients who live within 25 miles of a medical marijuana dispensary will not be allowed to grow their own marijuana without a special exemption from the state.
- Medical marijuana cannot be used in public places.
- The same laws that apply to driving under the influence of alcohol, also apply to driving under the influence of marijuana.
- Patients cannot travel to other states with medical marijuana.
- Because it is outlawed on the federal level, shipping medical marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service is illegal, even with a medical card.
Why Medical vs. Recreational?
The Las Vegas Sun reports that there are five reasons why — despite the availability of recreational pot — getting a medical marijuana card is still worth the trouble for some Nevada marijuana patients.
- Lower age requirement
Medical marijuana buyers must be 18 or older to apply for a medical marijuana card and purchase pot. Some medical cards allow those who are age 20 and under to legally access the cannabis medicine they need for their healthcare when treating cancer, epilepsy or other ailments. Recreational buyers do not need a state-issued card to purchase cannabis, but they must be at least 21 years old.
- Higher individual purchase limits
While recreational buyers in Nevada are limited to purchasing an ounce of marijuana flower a day, medical cardholders can buy up to 2.5 ounces of “usable” marijuana within a 14-day period, even if that purchase is made all at once.
- Lower prices
By Nevada law, medical marijuana cardholders are exempt from a 10 percent excise tax charged to recreational buyers on their purchases. Products for medical patients — the exact same as products sold to recreational patients — are often subject to additional discounts from dispensaries looking to attend to cannabis patients.
A major benefit offered by many states’ medical marijuana dispensaries is lower cost for patients, which is extremely important for people who rely on cannabis for medical issues. Imagine needing life-improving medication, but not having it covered by your insurance—that is the reality of medical cannabis patients all over the country.
- Priority shopping
Most dispensaries in the Las Vegas Valley have separate lines and check-in areas for medical marijuana patients, which, especially during busy times, have significantly shorter wait times than for recreational purchases.
5. Higher potency limits
Dosage is extremely important when it comes to medical cannabis, and many patients need access to high-strength cannabis to alleviate symptoms. For example, while edibles and concentrates for recreational marijuana use are limited to 100 milligrams of THC per container, medical buyers can purchase products with up to 1,000 milligrams THC per container.
How to Become a Medical Cannabis Patient in Las Vegas, Nevada
It is important to know that the patient database is kept strictly confidential and is not viewable by the public. Medical marijuana card registrations are stored in a database that only Medical Marijuana Agents (dispensary staff) and law enforcement can access to verify whether someone is licensed. Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Nevada is a process that involves speaking with a doctor and filling out some state mandated paperwork. To become a Nevada medical marijuana patient, you can first request an application for the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program (NMMP). Next, visit a Nevada licensed Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) to qualify as a patient. Lastly, submit your completed application to the NMMP for approval.
Keep in mind, medical marijuana cards cost $100 when applied for directly through the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, and a mandatory doctor’s referral for the application could cost an additional $100 to $200. Good for two years, the cards would pay for themselves after $2,000 to $3,000 worth of medical marijuana purchases over two years.
Once you become a medical marijuana patient in the state of Nevada, the process for visiting state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries is easy. To access legal medical cannabis through Nevada medical marijuana dispensaries, such as Las Vegas ReLeaf, the state requires patients to register with a medical marijuana dispensary before shopping and purchasing marijuana in the state.