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Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed in Nevada


March-April 1998

On March 13, Americans for Medical Rights (AMR) filed a ballot proposal to allow Nevadans with serious health problems to use medical marijuana (Cy Ryan, "Petition filed to allow use of marijuana in medical cases," Las Vegas Sun, March 13, 1998; Ed Vogel, "Group files petition calling for vote on use of marijuana for medical reasons," Law Vegas Review-Journal, March 14, 1998; Cy Ryan, "Medicinal pot petition criticized," Las Vegas Sun, March 16, 1998).

Dan Hart, a public opinion/public relations consultant in Las Vegas, is heading the signature-gathering effort for the Nevada initiative. "This is an issue of compassion," Hart said. "The state is conservative, but also fiercely defends individual rights." Hart predicted that the initiative will easily qualify.

Supporters of the initiative must collect 46,764 signatures by August 5 to get the proposal on the November ballot. The measure would require approval by the voters in this November's election and again in November 2000 since it is designed to amend the state constitution.

The initiative seeks to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to anyone suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or from severe nausea caused by other "chronic or debilitating medical conditions.'' Use of medical marijuana by a minor would have to be approved in writing both by a doctor and the minor's parents.

The measure would allow the Nevada legislature to set up a confidential registry of patients authorized to use marijuana for medical purposes which could lead to identification cards for patients. The registry would be available to police if needed to verify claims of medical use of marijuana.

The initiative states that insurance companies would not have to reimburse a health care policyholder for marijuana that is used for treatment, and an employer would not have to make accommodations for sick employees who are using marijuana medically.

Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa on March 4, 1998 ruled that an organization or individual cannot contribute more then $5,000 to advocate a ballot question. On March 9 AMR filed suit in federal court in Las Vegas to enjoin her ruling.

Dan Hart - Nevadans for Medical Rights, 1412 S. Jones Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89102, Tel: (702) 259-0300, Fax: (702) 259-7708, E-mail: <>.

Nevada Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa - Heroes Memorial Building, 100 N. Carson St., Carson City, NV 89701, Tel: (702) 687-4170, Fax: (702) 687-5798.