They came from near and far. Las Vegas Valley developers, medical marijuana industry veterans from Colorado and area doctors were among them.
The odds were against them. Seventy-nine applicants — down from 81 — aiming for part of the region’s next industry: medical marijuana. And Clark County had just 18 slots for medical marijuana dispensaries.
There were familiar names among the winners that county commissioners picked Friday at the end of a three-day hearing. Longtime developer and gaming executive Randy Black, who retired last year as chief operating officer at Mesquite Gaming, for example, hopes to open a dispensary in Laughlin. He was the only applicant there.
Another is Nick Spirtos, a well-known doctor with the Women’s Cancer Center of Nevada who has ties to University Medical Center.
Still another is David Goldwater, a former Nevada assemblyman who is involved the Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary.
The commission’s decisions came during a three-hour process that entailed filling out tally sheets and narrowing the list of applicants in multiple rounds of voting. Two applicants dropped out.
The new industry, which many feel will be lucrative, is months away from becoming a reality, and applicants still must go through state approval and set up shop.
Medical marijuana has gained a reputation for relieving pain and nausea from chronic ailments, including cancer, and even preventing seizures. The Nevada Legislature in 2013 approved a bill allowing the dispensaries and related facilities to make sure people who needed marijuana could obtain it without breaking state law.
The medical marijuana industry is also bringing jobs and a boost to the economy at a time when the valley is still climbing out of a deep recession.
Commissioners first spent a little more than two hours on Friday hearing from applicants seeking to operate dispensaries, which rounded up the public hearing part of the process. They heard from 14 applicants for sites in the Spring Valley Township.
Applicants are spread throughout the Las Vegas Valley, with one in Laughlin.
In Winchester Township, commissioners picked Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary, 2520 Maryland Parkway.
Two dispensaries that were picked are in Enterprise Township:
—CW Nevada, LLC, 6540 Blue Diamond Road
—Euphoria Wellness, LLC, 7780 Jones Blvd.
Sunrise Manor Township’s dispensary is Just Quality LLC, 4235 Artic Springs Ave.
The most competitive area was Paradise Township, which had 48 applicants. Seven of them were picked:
—The MedMen of Nevada, 4380 Boulder Highway
—The Clinic Nevada D1, LLC, 4070 Arville St.
—Nevada Medical Marijuana Dispensary Inc., 4240 W. Flamingo Ave.
—Desert Inn Enterprises Inc., 2900 E. Desert Inn Road
—Nevada Holistic Medicine, LLC, 4660 Decatur Blvd.
—TGIG , LLC, 4633 Paradise Road
—Fidelis Holdings LLC, 3325 Pepper Lane.
In Spring Valley Township, five applicants were selected:
—GB Sciences Nevada LLC, 4850 Fort Apache Road
—LVMC LLC, 6332 S. Rainbow Blvd.
—Integral Associates LLC, 5765 W. Tropicana Ave.
—Gravitas Nevada Ltd., 7885 Sahara Ave.
—Nevada Organic Remedies LLC, 6877 Sahara Ave.
In Whitney Township, the dispensary is Global Harmony LLC, 5630 Stephanie St.
Laughlin’s chosen dispensary is Clear River LLC, 1975 Casino Drive. That was the only applicant with a Laughlin location.
Winners had relieved smiles after the three-day hearing wrapped up.
CW Nevada plans to offer its clients Charlotte’s Web, a specialized form of medical marijuana that helps people with seizure disorders.
“We’re very thankful and we feel very fortunate to be this far in the process at this time,” said Brian Padgett, a Las Vegas attorney and a part-owner in CW Nevada.
“It was nerve-wracking because there’s a lot of very well-qualified groups, so you’re picking from a very big candidate pool, a worthy candidate pool.”
County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said: “I think we did a very good job of laying how to approach it as fairly as you possibly can.”
Giunchigliani had tried unsuccessfully to persuade her colleagues to qualify more than 18 companies for permits.
Eighteen dispensaries is the limit in unincorporated Clark County, but those the county tapped Friday still need to pass through the state’s vetting process.
Giunchigliani said having a wider pool eligible for approval from the county and the state would have been a good move to keep the county from being potentially locked out and having fewer dispensaries due to a self-imposed limit.
She said the applicant pool was impressive, but noted that she would have liked to see more dispensaries in the region’s inner urban core.
In about two weeks, commissioners will review and approve permits for cultivation facilities, laboratories and production facilities.
In a procedural move, commissioners “trailed” the 61 applicants who didn’t make the final 18. That allows the county to bring the applicants forward for consideration if cities in Clark County do not move forward with approval of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed within their boundaries.
Contact Ben Botkin at email@example.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.