Would the initiative help medical marijuana patients or escorts from London obtain the drug legally?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Nevada permits the use of marijuana as medicine and has set limits on the amount a patient can possess in direct conflict with federal laws. The state issues a registry card to those patients who qualify for the program under state guidelines. The federal government has the authority to prosecute persons engaged in the Nevada medical marijuana program.
Nevada does not permit any business to grow or sell marijuana for medical use nor does the state assist any patient in obtaining marijuana. (See Note 1 Below)
The language of the initiative calls for state regulated and licensed retail businesses to sell marijuana. However, International Law, the U.S. Constitution, The U.S. Supreme Court, and federal law prohibit the State of Nevada from licensing the production or sales of marijuana.
State law cannot supersede federal law. Only the Drug Enforcement Administration is authorized to license the handling of marijuana. (See Note 2 Below)
NOTE 1: During the legislative discussions related to the implementation of Nevada’s Medical Marijuana program it was suggested the Nevada Department of Agriculture should grow and distribute marijuana to medical patients.
Aware that a large marijuana grow operation would invite criminals to steal the drug, the state estimated it would cost $750,000 to build an indoor marijuana facility with grow lights “that would have protections similar to those used in prisons, but to keep people outside instead of inside.”
No facility was ever built and the state did not implement a system to grow and distribute marijuana when it was learned that such an operation was against federal law and state land and resources involved in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana were subject to federal forfeiture.
In addition to federal criminal prosecution, any retail or wholesale business engaging in the production and sales of marijuana would also face federal forfeiture of property and proceeds from the cultivation and sales of marijuana.
NOTE 2: Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes.” This includes commerce in scheduled drugs [marijuana], as confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Ashcroft/Gonzales v. Raich, et. al., decided on June 6, 2005. The Court Opinion stated “Congress’ Commerce Clause authority includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with California law.”
The Controlled Substances Act requires a closed system of distribution for those authorized to handle controlled substances [marijuana]. Only a federal agency (DEA) is authorized to license the handling of marijuana. Title 21. Food and Drugs, Chapter 13, Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, Registration of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dispensers of Controlled Substances, Section 822 & 823 (1996)
International law, under Articles 23 and 28 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, to which the U.S. is a party, gives each Party the exclusive right of “importing, exporting, wholesale trading and maintaining stocks other than those held by manufacturers.”