Marijuana advocacy in Nevada has a friend in State Senator Richard S. “Tick” Segerblom. A fourth-generation representative in Nevada, he currently represents Senate District 3. Most recently, the former attorney made news with Senate Bill 372, legislation the media touted as a “pot for pets” bill. But there is far more to said bill, as there is to Sen. Segerblom himself, as well as the future of marijuana in the Silver State.
The journey towards an interest in marijuana prohibition began for Segerblom back in the 1960s. “I remember how free love and marijuana and everything—we thought those things were going to happen,” Segerblom says. “And then Reagan got elected governor of California and everything just went backwards. Now, I think finally society is starting to realize they spent almost 60 years going in the wrong direction and it’s time to go back.”
He adds that while no substance or drug is 100 percent safe, marijuana is the least harmful one there is, even less so than alcohol.“A lot of people enjoy [marijuana], it has health benefits and to criminalize it and prosecute people—particularly people of color—is wrong. If we can rectify that, then I’m a happy camper.”
Segerblom believes the “War on Drugs” has failed. “We lost and we might as well deal with it and decriminalize most drugs, legalize a lot of them and then deal with the consequences,” he says. “We have rehabilitation available. Tax the drugs, tax the alcohol, than provide rehabilitation services to people who can’t handle it. But get away from putting people in jail who sold it, they used it, they had trouble because of their addiction. It destroyed a whole generation of people for no good reason. These are mental health issues, not criminal issues.”
Looking at the state of marijuana in Nevada, it was unfortunate that Senate Bill 372 died in committee earlier this year. Key components tied into the bill (in addition to medical cannabis for ailing pets) were needed, including transfer of ownership. “It involves a five-mile rule where dispensaries can move within five miles,” Segerblom says. “It also involves keeping home grown alive for another two years, keeping reciprocity provisions for another couple of years, there’s a lot of little technical things.”
With regard to transferability of the medical marijuana license, Segerblom believes he will be able to address that issue. “We’re working on an amendment to one of the existing bills that deals with medical marijuana and I’m optimistic that will be approved.”
Senate Bill 372 also brought up the issue of “seed to sale” software solutions. This places a restriction on dispensaries in Clark County where they’re only permitted to purchase medical marijuana from cultivation and processing facilities also within Clark County, which could potentially drive up the cost to patients. “I have lots of concerns about the cost and that’s why we have Bill 276, which hopefully brings more dispensaries to Nevada,” says Segerblom. “But as far as the technical issue where Clark County said you can’t purchase marijuana from outside of Clark County to sell in Clark County, I’m not sure if we’re able to address that issue. I think it’s actually unconstitutional.” He adds that unfortunately with all the given issues that need to be addressed, it’s not a top priority.
Originally published in Elevate