Seniors Gain Benefits from use of Medicinal Marijuana

Seniors Gain Benefits from use of Medicinal Marijuana



Nevada has permitted the use of medicinal marijuana since 2001.  However, in 2013 the Legislature voted to permit the establishment of medicinal marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.  NRS 453A permits the medicinal use of marijuana and describes the requirements.

Reuters recently reported that a new study found physicians wrote significantly fewer prescriptions for painkillers and other medications for elderly and disabled patients who had legal access to medical marijuana.  Medicare saved more than $165 million in 2013 on prescription drugs in the District of Columbia and 17 states that allowed cannabis to be used as medicine, researchers calculated.  If every state in the nation legalized medical marijuana, the study forecast that the federal program would save more than $468 million a year on pharmaceuticals for disabled Americans and those seniors 65 and older.

Ironically, despite the noted benefits and costs savings, no health insurance, including Medicare, will reimburse for the cost of marijuana.  Although medical cannabis is legal today in 25 states and the District of Columbia, federal law continues to prohibit its prescription in all circumstances.

In order to obtain medicinal marijuana in Nevada, a person must hold a valid registry identification card which is issued by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health of the Department of Health and Human Services (the “Division”).  In order to obtain the card, an application must be submitted to the Division which indicates a chronic or debilitating medical definition as defined by the statute.

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