County sheds more light on medical pot license applicants

Clark County has shed more light on who is vying for a limited number of lucrative licenses to move newly legalized medical marijuana from seed to sale.

Business application details released by the county Monday offer a closer look at the 109 companies applying for pot licenses, highlighting a broad swath of politically and financially influential entrepreneurs looking to get in on the ground floor.

They include the following:

■ Mark James, a former state senator and Clark County commissioner, who is listed as majority owner of LVMC LLC, with five open applications: two for cultivation facilities, two for production operations and one dispensary.

■ Former Henderson Mayor Robert Groesbeck and former Henderson Councilman Larry Scheffler, part owners of MM Development, which applied for three licenses: a dispensary, a production operation and a cultivation facility.

■ Sig Rogich, a Las Vegas power broker and former senior aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. He holds a 5 percent stake in Deeproots Medical LLC, according to the documents. Former casino owner Gary Primm and his son Roger Primm each have 22.5 percent stake in the company.

■ A company called Global Harmony, which lists NFL Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, a former offensive lineman with the Baltimore Ravens, who lives in the Las Vegas area, as a 3.3 percent owner.

Meanwhile, one notable who has decided not to join the scramble for medical marijuana riches is Oscar B. Goodman Jr., an oncologist and son of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and former Mayor Oscar Goodman. He told the Review-Journal he has withdrawn from a company that wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

“Originally, I thought this was a great opportunity from a research perspective, but I understand this business to be more than that,” Goodman wrote in a series of emails. “As an oncologist and prescriber, I felt that it was a conflict of interest to be in the position of participating in a business.”

As of Monday evening, the Nevada Secretary of State website still listed Goodman as a manager of the company, and Goodman wrote that he was waiting for the page to reflect his withdrawal.

While dropping his bid, Goodman said research and dispensaries could help determine “which patients are most likely to benefit from medical marijuana, symptom relief-wise” and whether there exists “any evidence of therapeutic benefit in the treatment of cancer, a concept proven in the test tube and lauded by proponents of natural cannabis products.”

State legislation that went into effect on April 1 provides for 40 medical marijuana facilities in Clark County. County commissioners have said they plan to clarify exactly where they will be located.

Ordinarily, state regulators would look to split the county- and state-approved facilities evenly among Southern Nevada municipalities, but a six-month medical pot moratorium adopted by Henderson city leaders in January seems to have thrown a wrench in those plans. Clark County commissioners could vote today to adopt a new model and change how the facilities are allocated.

The county agenda item notes that under Nevada statute, commissioners may vote to change a jurisdiction’s share of facilities in order to ensure that the more populous areas of the county “have access to sufficient distribution of marijuana for medical use.”

Commissioner Steve Sisolak said the county would pick up eight dispensaries under a population-based distribution model, while Las Vegas could gain one.

North Las Vegas would lose six medical pot facilities under the plan and Henderson — should it take a pass on the green rush — would lose out on five.

Mesquite would be in line for one medical marijuana license, while Boulder City has already opted out of the pot business.

Sisolak didn’t rule out a takeover of facilities foregone by other jurisdictions, a move that would see more than half of Southern Nevada’s medical pot growhouses, dispensaries and testing facilities fall outside city limits.

“It’s unreasonable to give 44 percent of the population 25 percent of dispensaries,” the District A commissioner said Wednesday. “I think the only reason (the statute) wasn’t written that way in the first place is that they didn’t know who was going to opt in or out.”

This week’s agenda item goes on to note that state officials have “tentatively indicated” their support for the proposal.

Reached for comment Thursday, state health bureau chief Chad Westom agreed it was the county’s right to change the law to meet the medical needs of patients. He declined to comment on how the county might have reached such a determination before opening the facilities.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Find him on Twitter @randompoker. Contact James DeHaven at jdehaven@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter @JamesDeHaven.