Nevada: Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Registration Program Is Constitutional
By Steve Elliott
Nevada's medical marijuana registration program is constitutional, a Clark County judge ruled on Friday.
In a 38-page order, District Judge Rob Bare also determined that the state is legally immune from claims of fraud and unjust enrichment, reports Carri Geer Thevenot at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"The court may not judge the wisdom or necessity of the registration program because the court is not the policy maker," Judge Bare wrote. "The best avenue of redress is through the Legislature, not the courts."
The ruling was the result of a class action lawsuit filed August 13, 2015 by a 42-year-old Las Vegas man with a history of migraine headaches. The man, identified in court documents only as John Doe, alleged that Nevada had engaged in fraud and unjust enrichment by accepting fees for medical marijuana registration cards without giving patients a legal source of cannabis.
The Nevada Legislature in 2013 voted to allow medical cannabis dispensaries and commercial growing, but the first dispensary didn't open until July 2015. The second dispensary in the state opened on August 24, 2015 in Clark County.
The plaintiff's attorney, Jacob Hafter, said he plans to appeal the ruling.
Besides fraud and unjust enrichment, Hafter argued that Nevada's medical marijuana registration program violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment and the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment.
He argued that the due process clause protects a fundamental right to health care. "I think this is the next big civil rights argument," he told Judge Bare during a December hearing.
The judge, however, found no fundamental right in federal law to use medical marijuana.
Bare also rejected Hafter's argument that the registration process violates the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment by requiring patients to admit they are violating federal law.