By Shawn J. Jimenez
The City of Las Vegas hosted a town hall meeting open to the public seeking to hear the city’s proposed guidelines, regulations and plans regarding medical marijuana, dispensaries, as well as grow facilities.
City officials had a team logging and recording citizens’ questions, comments and concerns.
The greatest concern seemed to be that the city was trying to over regulate the industry. Many of the questions were about the logic behind some of the provisions.
Proposals put forth affect authorized marijuana consumers who are patients and the businesses that will provide the product and those who plan to open a licensed dispensary.
One of the more polarized positions is the criticism by medical
marijuana patients that city officials who are setting regulations are
not taking the patients’ healthcare needs into consideration.
There was loud applause when one person expressed the idea that
“banning delivery to housebound patients” was rather “cruel.” Many
people who shared that they prefer not to smoke for health reasons did
not appreciate the proposals that did not favor edible marijuana.
The city proposes that a licensed, registered grow facility may only
use one-third of its space to actually grow marijuana plants. Those
who have plans or are currently setting up to be a grow facility and
have invested resources were wondering what they should be doing with
the other two-thirds of the space of they’re paying for.
One man asked why the city’s proposal was trying to move growers
“indoors and out of the wonderful Nevada sunshine.”
Among the complaints was a concern about the city’s packaging
provisions which many consider to be less than eco-friendly because of
the requirements for using excess packaging materials: requiring bulk
package sizes to be made by repackaging mandatory smaller weight size
containers into larger ones. Prospective sellers and patients see this
as an unnecessary risk for higher consumer prices and increased seller
Regarding the purchasing options, several patients expressed concerns
about being able to access their medication for only 11 hours a day in
a 24-hour town.
Patients seemed concerned that the city has decided in ignorance that
“medical use is a joke” and that the city merely wants to be prepared
to control the tourist trade dollars by limiting citywide availability
of medical marijuana, using regulations to favor dispensary licenses
for businesses located on and around the Strip.
There were also concerns that once the dispensaries are open, the city
would try to contradict Senate Bill 174 and the State Department of
Health’s Medical Marijuana Registry by turning Las Vegas into a “buy
on the Strip with the tourists” city instead of what is supposed to be
a “grow your own” state.
Considering there is at least one pharmacy in nearly every
neighborhood — and not just those near the Strip — even if you have to
drive past the liquor store and smoke shop to get there, the concerned
citizens’ may be right.
To read the proposal draft or to get public information, visit the
City of Las Vegas website: www.LasVegasNevada.gov and search for
The city is accepting public input on the proposed regulations of
medical marijuana licensing and sales rules.
The city’s website states: “In accordance with NRS Chapter 237, trade
associations, owners and officers of businesses which are likely to be
affected by a proposal, as well as other interested persons, may
submit comments, data or arguments to the city concerning whether any
of the provisions of the proposal will:
–Impose a direct and significant economic burden upon a business; or
–Directly restrict the formation, operation, or expansion of a business.”
During the input period, which ends on April 24, according to the
notices on the city’s website, comments, data or arguments regarding
the proposed ordinance may be submitted using an online form, by
postal mail or hand delivery to the Department of Planning at 333 N.
Rancho Drive, Third Floor, or fax to (702) 474-7463, or by email to
Ultimately, a deep concern looms and questions were asked about the
metaphorical 850-pound gorilla in the room: “What happens when I’m
following the letter of the law, but the federal government steps in
and takes everything away?”
The only answer given was, “Ask your lawyer.”