Las Vegas Council Close to Medical Marijuana Dispensary Vote


Las Vegas city leaders could give the final nod for medical pot dispensaries to begin operating in the city by next week, though at least one councilmember says they should wait for further guidance from the state.

Council member Bob Coffin tells KNPR News that council is rushing and should wait until the state grants licenses to businesses before moving forward. The state could make that decision in the next week, he notes.
Councilman Bob Beers says the city needs to get the jump on the competition from dispensaries that will begin popping up the outlying county and unincorporated parts of the city.
Earlier this week, state officials said they would not seek to put caps on cultivation amounts in the state and will instead let the market decide how much pot needs to be produced.
Chad Westom, head of the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health, said that it is too hard to judge patient demand currently and that he expects the current number of 6,500 patients to increase when the shops come online. Out-of-state patients will also be allowed to purchase cannabis at Nevada dispensaries with proof of their doctor’s recommendation.
Several applicants applauded the decision, saying that capping that production limit would artificially inflate prices and keep the “black market” thriving.
“If the concern is this product getting out in the black market, then not limiting square footage is the best way to keep it out of the black market,” said Trevor Hayes, an attorney for Wellness Connection of Nevada said at the meeting. “If we limit the space and prices skyrocket in the regulated industry, people will be going to the black market to get cheaper unregulated product.”
Dispensary and grow operation applications were accepted during a 10-day period in August. The state Health Department saw roughly 519 applications and will begin announcing the recipients of the licenses in the coming weeks.