Marijuana planning moving slowly

State legislators have approved funding to hire staff and collect taxes as part of Nevada's medical marijuana process.

The Interim Finance Committee, which allocates money when the full legislature is out of session, provided $250,000 to the Division of Public and Behavioral Health for two contract employees who will set up the program.

Another $529,000 was given to the state Taxation Department to create a system to collect excise taxes on the sale of marijuana.

The Nevada Legislature this year provided for 40 dispensaries around the state after state Judge Donald Mosley ruled that the state's failure to provide a means for patients to obtain the substance “is either poorly contemplated or purposely constructed to frustrate the implementation of constitutionally mandated access to the substance.”

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas last week, the city put a six-month moratorium on approving any dispensaries. The foot-dragging drew criticism but was defended by vice mayor Stavros Anthony, who previously—as a Nevada regent—tried to bar rap music from Lawlor Events Center and other higher education locations in the state. Anthony, a police officer, said the long delay will give the city more time to write regulations, a job that is already being done by the state.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, on the other hand, expressed concern that patients get good stuff, though there is no existing program for assessing the quality of grass. She also suggested that the dispensaries should be non-profit, which—with numerous potential commercial vendors lined up waiting—appears to be a non-starter.