Cannabis Reform in Nevada

Ballot Question #9 - Medical Marijuana
YES: 59%
NO: 41%
(99% of precincts reporting - CBS News is reporting that Ballot Question #9 has officially won.)

Up to the minute results:

More information on Nevada's Medical Marijuana Initiative:

Cannabis-related Ballot Initiatives and Referenda
to be voted on in the November 3, 1998 General Election
Compiled by Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis
October 10, 1998

Several initiatives will appear on the ballot this year in various states.  Voters in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and Washington State will be decide on the issue of medicinal cannabis.  Additionally, voters in Oregon will decide on a referendum to block the recriminalization of marijuana.  Voters in Arizona will decide on a referendum to block the gutting of the Proposition 200, the Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act, passed by 65% of Arizona voters in 1996.

Medicinal Cannabis Initiatives (to be voted on 11/3/98)
Nevada: Ballot Question 9

These initiatives need to be divided into two different models for allowing use of cannabis by patients.

1) Therapeutic Model (Washington D.C. and Washington State)
These initiatives were modeled on the ideas embodied in the California Compassionate Use Act (CCUA - Prop. 215) passed by California voters in 1996.  These initiatives were written by the local grassroots patients and patient advocates and put the needs of the patient first.

2) Law Enforcement Model (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada)
These initiatives were written by Americans for Medical Rights to appease law enforcement concerns about the CCUA.  Since this model diverges so greatly from the California model, many patients have serious concerns about these initiatives.

We asked four questions about each initiative:
1) Does the initiative allow patients to possess and cultivate an adequate supply of medicine?
The City Council of Oakland, California, adopted a standard of six pounds of cannabis and 144 plants as necessary to maintain an adequate supply for patients.  This was based on the amount of cannabis currently supplied by the federal government to eight patients in the Investigative New Drug program.

2) Does the initiative allow for legal distribution to patients?
Legal distribution is important to protect patients from having to obtain their medicine from the black market.

3) Does the initiative protect patients who are not registered with the state?
Many of the initiatives that follow the law enforcement model require a patient to register with the state to receive protection of the law.  Many civil libertarians and AIDS patients are concerned that the confidentiality of the registry is not guaranteed and that law enforcement would use the registry to target medicinal cannabis users for harrassment.

4) Is the initiative a constitutional or statutory law?
Constitutional amendments are much harder to change than statutory laws are.

Nevada: Ballot Question 9
“An Initiative relating to the use of a plant of the genus Cannabis for medical purposes”

Text of Ballot Question #9

Allows patients to possess and cultivate an adequate supply? YES.

Allows for distribution to patients? YES.

Protects patients who are not registered with the state? NO.

Constitutional or Statutory? Constitutional. But it needs to be voted on twice in order to be enacted.  If voters pass the amendment in 1998, they will have to do it again in 1999 before the law would have an effect.

(In looking at the Nevada initiative for the first time for this report, we were surprised that it didn’t set the restrictions on cultivation, possession, and distribution that the other AMR-supported initiatives had. It is curious because Nevada may be the most conservative of all the states in which AMR has proposed initiatives, yet their initiative is the most liberal.)

Nevada Secretary of State

MARCH 20, 1998


A ballot proposal which would amend the state constitution to allow for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was filed in Nevada on March 13 by a representative of the group Americans for Medical Rights.  The proposal would allow Nevada residents who suffer from cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other "chronic or debilitating conditions" to possess and use marijuana with a doctor's permission.

Two votes are necessary to amend the Nevada Constitution, but first, supporters must collect over 46,000 signatures in order to get the proposal on the ballot.  If they succeed, and if the voters pass the measure in '98, it will go to the voters again, for final approval, in November of '99.  Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, told The Week Online, "signature gathering should begin within a week or so.  We have until August to gather the signatures, and Nevada law stipulates that we need a certain number from each county.  But we're confident that we will meet the requirements and pass medical marijuana in Nevada."

The Therapeutic Model of Medicine
The Law Enforcement Model of Medicine

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