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Reduction in dispensaries concerns North Las Vegas medical pot users


It hasn’t been a great week for medical marijuana in North Las Vegas.

Tuesday saw Clark County commissioners carve out much of the city’s stake in state-sanctioned pot dispensaries, part of a move that will see city-bound entrepreneurs jockey for just 10 percent of countywide facilities up for final approval this summer.

Wednesday wasn’t any better for North Las Vegas medical marijuana users, some of whom worried the move could mean longer trips to fewer than half of the pot facilities promised under legislation adopted last month.

“I was born here, I grew up here,” resident Charles Baker told City Council members. “I wanna be able to stay in my home, in my backyard, to get access to the proper type of medication I need.”

County commissioners’ unanimous shift to a population-based license distribution model will see Southern Nevada cities lose out on at least nine pot dispensaries promised under state legislation adopted last month. Eight of those facilities now look destined for unincorporated Clark County, where commissioners haven’t said how they plan to divvy up 18 licenses among 109 applicants.

Las Vegas is set to gain two dispensaries under the county’s new pot licensing scheme, and Mesquite is in line to add one.

Henderson — which adopted a six-month moratorium on the topic in January — could lose out on all five dispensaries allocated to the city as part of the realignment.

The county hasn’t ruled out a takeover of facilities passed up by neighboring jurisdictions despite city manager Jacob Snow’s pleas to preserve the city’s share of pot licenses.

North Las Vegas, like Henderson, had been in line for a quarter of facilities set aside under Nevada statute.

Leaders couldn’t say how much the county realignment might cost the cash-strapped city in future tax revenue.

Officials are “looking at options” to counter the move, one Councilwoman Anita Wood urged the city to address.

“I would like to see us pursue some kind of action with the county,” Wood said. “It was always my understanding that each jurisdiction would get 10 dispensaries. … I don’t know when they decided they could usurp that.”

City planners, left with four dispensary licenses to spread across 229,000 residents, say they don’t plan to ditch a strategic focus on attracting pot growers to APEX Industrial Park.

Mayor John Lee, while supportive of efforts to lure those grow houses, expressed some misgivings over the city coming off as the “drug center” of Clark County. He and Councilman Wade Wagner wondered whether the city should be in any kind of rush to make room for medical pot businesses.

Isaac Barron could think of one good reason: the potential for a lawsuit aimed at bringing the city in line with the rest of the county.

 

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