North Las Vegas delays action on pot regulations

North Las Vegas leaders tabled a medical marijuana licensing ordinance Wednesday, delaying final action on a package of rules aimed at luring pot growers to APEX Industrial Park.

A 22-page draft licensing ordinance introduced last month offers a half-dozen incentives for those eyeing a move to the 22,000-acre city-owned park, including a much-lauded provision allowing planning staff to approve grow house applicants without a City Council hearing.

City leaders didn’t shed much light on the decision to push back that ordinance Wednesday, explaining only that staffers are still tinkering with application and annual license fees to be collected from the city’s prospective medical marijuana business owners.

Community Development and Compliance Director Greg Blackburn expects to have a final fee schedule in place by the time city leaders circle back to the measure on July 16.

Meanwhile, he and other staffers will look at how to accommodate so-called “seed-to-sale” dispensaries — hybrid cultivation and retail pot facilities planners hope to make room for under a final ordinance.

“We are proposing to allow for vertical integration and we will be presenting that later,” Blackburn said. “Our utilities staff are creating a map to see which buildings would allow for that.”

Delayed action on the city’s pot licensing rules allowed City Council members to turn over the floor to their constituents, many of whom praised city efforts to integrate grow houses and and medical pot storefronts.

Medical marijuana advocate Las Vegas resident Mona Lisa Samuelson saved her plaudits for the city’s unfinished license fee structure.

“I’m really proud of your commitment to patients,” Samuelson told City Council members. “I want to applaud your fees, for cutting them in half, because I went to Henderson last night and found out theirs had doubled.”

Draft fee proposals introduced last month would see pot growers headed to the city’s so-called “green zones” to catch a break on their yearly license fees, paying around half the amount owed by other city growers and up to $15,000 less than their counterparts in Las Vegas.

Proposed licensing measures tabled this week take a similarly hands-off approach to pot dispensary operations, doing away with suggested bans on 24-hour pot shops and prescriptions picked up by a primary caregiver.

Medical pot entrepreneurs started sending non-dispensary land use applications to the city on June 24. Officials plan to start sifting through dispensary license applications once the city’s business licensing rules are finalized later this month.

Contact James DeHaven or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.