Nevada Judge Rules Pharmacy Board Not Allowed to Regulate Cannabis

The Nevada Board of Pharmacy is not allowed to regulate cannabis and must remove it from its list of scheduled substances, according to a new district judge ruling.

Full story after the jump.

A district judge in Clarke County, Nevada has ruled that the Nevada Board of Pharmacy is not allowed to regulate cannabis and must remove the plant and its derivatives from the state’s controlled substances list, the Nevada Independent reports. 

“If the [pharmacy] board designates a substance as a ‘controlled substance’ but the designation falls outside the authority delegated by the ​​Legislature, the designation is invalid,” District Court Judge Joe Hardy Jr. ruled.

This ruling comes on the heels of a September decision by the same judge that ordered the board to remove cannabis from the state’s drug schedule and focused on the board’s authority to regulate cannabis. The judge said he was waiting on the two sides to submit draft orders on October 5 to rule on the regulatory question, according to the report. 

Attorneys for the plaintiff, the Cannabis, Equity and Inclusion Community (CEIC), on behalf of Antoine Poole, who was convicted of felony cannabis possession in 2017, argued that although Nevadans could purchase cannabis in dispensaries since 2000, the state continued to list the substance in the same categories as illicit drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, the Independent says.

After the first hearing in July, Athar Haseebullah, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU), which represented CEIC, said,  “The notion that a state agency is able to engage in unlawful actions because it’s happening at the federal government – it’s just not the way it works.”

“They don’t work for the feds. We didn’t sue the DEA here. We sued the State Board of Pharmacy because this is a state action.” — Haseebullah, via the Independent

Judge Hardy said in his ruling, “the board exceeded its authority when it placed, or failed to remove marijuana, cannabis, and cannabis derivatives on its list as Schedule I substances.” He said medical cannabis is “enshrined” in Nevada law and that under a 2019 law, the regulation of cannabis falls to the state Cannabis Compliance Board.

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