Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D), former federal prosecutor and serving in her third and final term as state AG, has been asked by Judge Donald Mosley to decide if the states’ medical cannabis law, passed by voters as a state constitutional amendment in 2000 and enacted in ’01, conflicts with other state laws that criminalize all non-medical pot use and possession.
Judge Mosley’s request stems from an ongoing case involving the Las Vegas-based Sin City Co-op medi-pot dispensary, which was raided by local police officers several years ago following undercover purchases of medicine. Two dispensary operators were charged with multiple counts of marijuana possession with intent to distribute, felonies that could land them in prison for life. Judge Mosley had previously thrown out the charges against the pair of Sin City Co-op defendants on September 12 declaring he couldn’t make sense of Nevada’s medi-pot laws (the judge has described them as “mind-boggling”), but prosecutors obtained new indictments against the dispensary operators just two days later, thus sending the case back to court.
Attorney General Cortez Masto is expected to arrive at her decision in the next three weeks and if she decides the two Sin City Co-op operators can be convicted of felony marijuana sales and distribution, it could very well invalidate Nevada’s ten-year old medical marijuana laws and send the case to the state Supreme Court.
Of course, not every one who tokes in Nevada is a legal pot patient – and while the once booming home construction and real estate industry has gone bust in Vegas, resourceful growers have put some of the cheap empty homes that owners are desperate to rent and sell to good use – by cultivating as much pot as they possibly can – with the interior of some spacious properties accommodating over 200 cannabis plants.
Approximately 130 indoor pot grows have been busted this year in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, already some 24 more than were raided by police in all of 2010, indicating it’s a trend on the upswing. The foreclosure-dominated neighborhoods have also fostered anonymity, as long-time residents are less likely to be aware of their neighbor’s activities, and thus less inclined to report potential grow houses to the police.
But then, if Nevada’s medicinal cannabis laws are soon tossed aside by the state government and/or the courts, patients are probably going to need some of that surplus indoor high-grade being grown in all those foreclosed houses.