Medical marijuana dispensaries should no longer be able to accept California doctors’ recommendations from out-of-state patients to purchase in Nevada, according to an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office, sent this week to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In a letter from Attorney General Adam Laxalt to health department Director Richard Whitley, obtained by the Sun on Friday, Laxalt’s office responds to two department inquiries on the Silver State’s medical marijuana program: whether patients can use a copy of a completed application at a Nevada dispensary to purchase medical marijuana, and whether out-of-state residents should be allowed to use a California physician’s note to purchase medical marijuana. Laxalt advised against both practices.
“A recommendation from a California physician ad (sic) a driver’s license from another state cannot be used to obtain medical marijuana from a Nevada dispensary,” the letter said.
The letter and subsequent recommendations came as a surprise to Nevada dispensary owners, who said they were unaware that Whitley had reached out to the Attorney General’s Office. Some went as far as to call the potential effect of the letter “devastating” to business and patients they claim rely on such measures to purchase marijuana while in town.
“Not only (is it important) for our business, but for the patients who need medicine when they’re visiting here,” said David Goldwater, owner of Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary, 2520 S. Maryland Pkwy.
Goldwater, who estimated his clientele is about 60 percent Nevada cardholders and 40 percent out-of-state buyers, said his business model would change “drastically” if patients with California doctor’s notes were barred from buying at Inyo.
He argued that over 90 percent of an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million California medical marijuana users choose a physician’s recommendation over a state-issued medical marijuana card to avoid additional costs and registering with the state.
“We should be able to respect those states and those patients who prefer not to register with them,” Goldwater said.
Andrew Jolley, owner of The+Source dispensary, 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd, said that while most of his customers are from Nevada, California residents living part-time in the Las Vegas Valley also shop at his dispensary. He said shutting off access to patients with only doctor’s notes would “literally affect tens of thousands of people.”
“If the department enacts this measure, these patients are going to be extremely disappointed,” Jolley said. “And in some cases, their health will be affected.”
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