Source: Sandra Chereb Associated Press
March 17, 2014
Regulations detailing how medical marijuana will be managed and made available in Nevada were approved Friday by the state public health administrator, marking another milestone for patients holding medical marijuana cards.
After months in the making, Richard Whitley, administrator of the Division Public and Behavioral Health, adopted the regulations that cover everything from licensing and product testing to oversight of prescribing physicians and restricting public view and odors at pot facilities.
Marla McDade Williams, division deputy administrator charged with overseeing the rule-making process, said the division spent countless hours doing research and holding public hearings. She also acknowledged that regulating marijuana is new in Nevada and will likely require adjustments in the future.
Nevada voters approved medical marijuana in 2000, but patients have had no legal way to acquire the drug other than to grow it.
A bill, Senate Bill 374, approved by the 2013 Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval set up a taxing and distribution system to allow patients to buy it.
Several sections deal with laboratories.
“Lab testing of marijuana grown and sold in Nevada is an important public health aspect of this new law,” Williams said. “These requirements will help consumers understand what levels of different components of marijuana are in the products they are buying. It also assures that the product does not have excessive amounts of heavy metals, pesticides and other byproducts that could be harmful when ingested in unallowable amounts.”
Labeling, marketing, types of testing required, qualifications of lab directors, facility ownership, application requirements and criteria the division will use to approve applications are spelled out in the 113 pages of regulations.
The regulations allow the state to limit how much medicinal pot is produced.
“From an operational perspective, we have done a lot of research to understand some averages for plants, their yields and the usage patterns of cardholders, but we are really just making an educated guess at this time,” Williams said. “Once we approve all of the cultivation and production facilities we are going to approve, and they grow to the capacity that is authorized based on their application, we will need to reassess consumer buying habits to know whether we have missed the mark with our decisions.”
There are 5,100 medical marijuana card holders in Nevada, though that number is expected to increase.
The law limits the number of dispensaries statewide and in each county to one dispensary for every 10 pharmacies. It also gives local jurisdictions the option not to allow marijuana facilities.
Article source: http://www.rgj.com/viewart/20140317/NEWS/303140046/Milestone-medical-pot-Nevada