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Blowing smoke over last week’s medical marijuana cover story

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Last week’s cover story on medical marijuana in Nevada looked at the issue from the perspectives of seven people directly affected by it—two patients, a police officer, a doctor, a grower, a proponent and a provider. Since publication, we’ve received lots of responses offering other perspectives on the state of medical marijuana in our community, including a call from Metro narcotics detective Ryan Kraft seeking to clarify a few aspects of the law.

“Dispensaries are illegal in Nevada,” Detective Kraft says, regardless of how businesses label their operations, co-ops included. “If they are providing marijuana in exchange for monetary compensation, then I would consider, that to be ‘consideration’ and that is illegal—whether you call it a ‘donation,’ whether you call it a ‘consulting fee,’ the basis of the amount of money that is exchanged is most likely based on the quantity or the quality of the marijuana that’s provided to the customer.

“The information that’s going out there, a lot of these places are trying to claim that they’re still operating because nobody was arrested on those initial raids. People don’t understand that these things take time, there’s a lot of records, there’s a lot of things that we have to do to cover our bases just to make sure that we are charging these people properly and they are violating the law. Just because one’s doing it one way doesn’t mean the other one’s doing it the same way as the others, so we can’t just go knock on everybody’s door and say, ‘Hey, look, what you guys are doing is illegal.’

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“The way the law was crafted, it’s a grow-your-own state,” he explains. If a patient is unable to cultivate medical marijuana, his or her designated caregiver can assist or “people can exchange patient to patient, as long as they’re not doing it for monetary gain.”

In addition, Kraft and his department wanted to clarify some of the confusion over marijuana plant seeds. “We keep seeing over and over again that seeds are illegal, and they’re not,” he says. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to possess up to seven plants (three mature, four immature). “It’s part of the marijuana plant. If they’re abiding by the law, they’re fine.”

Kraft’s message comes down to one simple point. “If you’re involved in marijuana distribution, you’re going to be investigated,” he says. “That is the bottom line.”

Missed the original cover story? Read the whole article here.

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