History of CBD and Cannabis: Nevada
Nevada has joined the growing list of states that have legalized marijuana through resident-driven ballot initiatives. Despite the largely conservative bent of the state legislature, residents have increasingly started to side with cannabis decriminalization, legalization, and taxation efforts in the region.
Unlike other western states, Nevada residents have been largely in favor of decreasing penalization for over three decades. In fact, medical marijuana was first legalized through a 2000 ballot initiative, securing over sixty percent of the vote.
As time goes on, it’s likely we’ll see increasingly consumer access, awareness, and state interaction in the burgeoning cannabis and CBD industries.
Cannabis, CBD, and Nevada
Following the national trend of drug prohibition in the early twentieth century, Nevada joined a growing list of states outright banning cannabis in 1923.
For decades, prohibition and enforcement just got stricter. Before the onset of the thirties, doctors were no longer able to prescribe cannabis for qualifying medical patients. Law enforcement tried to discourage cannabis abuse by enacting harsher and harsher penalties on drug offenders.
Support for cannabis decriminalization reached an all time low during the seventies as many Nevada residents fully supported the “War on Drugs”. It took until the late nineties for public sentiment to turn around. Several high profile studies and cases of epileptic children receiving benefit from cannabis slowly challenged public perceptions.
By 1998, over fifty-nine percent of the public voted solidly in favor of the medical marijuana bill. After being challenged in court, voters again chose in favor of medical marijuana with a sixty-five percent vote. It only took the state a year to institute regulatory frameworks that would make medical access to cannabis possible for patients.
However, it would take nearly a decade for the program to become robust enough for most patients. In the years following passage, qualifying patients had to cultivate their own plants in order to consume marijuana at all, since dispensaries were not yet open.
In 2013, the first commercial operations for medical marijuana began after the state received several class action lawsuits for “excess delays and impedances”.
Aside from medical reform, Nevada is undergoing its own struggle towards full decriminalization and legalization. The 2001 medical marijuana bill included a stipulation that reduced the felony charge for possession to a single fine misdemeanor.
Finally, a 2016 bill allowed for state regulation and taxation of marijuana. Despite powerful enemies and casino tycoons opposing legalization, residents voted in favor of legal consumption by all adults over twenty one.
It’s hard to say when the state will fully embrace and drive the marijuana and CBD industry forward in Nevada. For now, there are only a small handful of dispensaries in Las Vegas city limits. As tax revenue increases precipitously through marijuana sale, it’s likely the state will only sanction the industry more and more.