Health Division OKs pot rules

The administrator of the state Health Division on Friday approved regulations designed to make marijuana available to people with certain medical conditions.

Saying simply that the “regulation is in the best interest of the state,” Richard Whitley adopted the rules that spell out how cultivators, producers of edible pot products and dispensaries can be licensed and operate in Nevada.

The regulation must now be presented to the Legislative Commission on March 28 for final adoption.

But Joe Theile of the Health Division said that doesn’t mean applications for permits and certificates will be accepted anytime soon. Deputy Health Division Administrator Marla McDade Williams said at an earlier hearing she didn’t expect that to happen until fall.

Theile said the division is in the process of hiring and training 12 inspectors and auditors to operate the program. Once that is done and the actual rules for operating the program are developed, he said, the division can move forward with actual licensing.

“We’ve got to get staff up, trained and in place,” he said.

Theile said the Health Division will then issue a notice telling potential applicants when they can actually apply. That notice will come 45 working days — about nine weeks — ahead of the application period. Under statute, applications will only be accepted for 10 days.

The regulations were approved with only minor changes from the version adopted by a study committee over the past six months. McDade Williams, who managed that process, said some of the regulations may need to be reworked as the division learns more about how everything is actually working.

Officials did accept an amendment from the state medical association clarifying that, if any doctor is suspected of issuing too many medical marijuana cards without proper cause, those cases will be handle by the appropriate medical board, not the Health Division.

But the division rejected a request to eliminate the requirement that marijuana cultivation cannot be observed from outside the greenhouse or garden. Peter Krueger, representing potential licensees through the Nevada Medical Marijuana Association, said that group “fully supports the idea that greenhouses should be opaque from the sides.” But he said they should be able to have clear roofs to let in the sunlight.


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